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Davis Cup Tennis Gets “Kiss of Death” • It’s Potentially Headed For Drastic Changes Starting in 2019

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates winning the Davis Cup Final between France and Belgium at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France, 26 November 2017. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT



By Ricky Dimon


Proposed drastic changes to the Davis Cup competition were announced by the International Tennis Federation earlier this week. At the heart of the proposal is a 25-year, $3 billion partnership between the ITF and investment group Kosmos, which would would transform tennis’ annual team competition into a season-ending event over one week in November at a to-be-determined location.


Under the new format, Davis Cup would be played over seven days during the traditional week of the final (late November), featuring round-robin play followed by a knockout stage beginning in the quarterfinals. Each tie would consist of two singles rubbers and one doubles match, all best-of-three sets. This year’s 16 World Group nations would automatically qualify for the 2019 festivities, while two additional teams would be selected as wild-card entries. A playoff round involving the eight nations that qualify from Zone Group I would be held the same week.


Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique, a standout for FC Barcelona, is the founder and President of Kosmos–a group backed by Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani. Rakuten is a Tokyo-based e-commerce company that sponsors the ATP’s Japan Open during the fall swing.


“Kosmos is thrilled to join in this exciting partnership with the ITF,” Pique said. “Together we can elevate the Davis Cup to new heights by putting on a must-see World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring the top nations and top players.”


New heights are needed–that much is not up for debate. The question is how to get to those heights. In its current state, which almost everyone agrees is not a good one, the Davis Cup takes place over four weeks spread across the entire tennis calendar each year, from February through November. The competition has struggled to attract top players, who constantly deal with the rigors of a jam-packed schedule even without Davis Cup. Last season it was also overshadowed by the inaugural Laver Cup, a three-day event in September pitting Team World against Team Europe.


“This is a complete game-changer for the ITF and for tennis,” David Haggerty, the president of the ITF, assured. “Our Board has supported a bold and ambitious plan for the future of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, one of the sport’s most cherished and important events and a key cornerstone in our ITF2024 strategy.


“Our vision is to create a major season-ending finale that will be a festival of tennis and entertainment, featuring the world’s greatest players representing their nations to decide the Davis Cup champions. This new partnership will not only create a true World Cup of Tennis but will also unlock record levels of new investment for future generations of tennis players and fans around the world.”


United States captain Jim Courier is not opposed to the idea, but he also cautioned that it is not yet a done deal.


“It’s politically tricky and no sure thing that this gets rubber-stamped,” he told the New York Times. “The next step in my view to make this event all it could be would be to include the Fed Cup in this tennis extravaganza. That should be the ultimate goal.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editors Note: The format that’s over 100 years old needs slight “tweaking” not “twerking”…. IT DOES NOT NEED A MAJOR OVERHAUL! Bad ITF! Let’s start with a small modification option ready.

Common Sense.

The country that wins the Davis Cup keeps the cup and the title all year and literally sit in the finals waiting for everyone else play off to have the opportunity to “challenge” them.

It’s the old “Challenge Round” that Wimbledon used for decades.

From a player point of view –

Unless you have played Davis Cup for a year and squeezed it into an already crazy schedule over every continent, you’ve given up vacation time, rest, and recovery. You’ve flown extra untold hours. You’ve given blood, sweat, and lots of tears. You finally win the Davis Cup For Your Country! To then only have to defend it less than 8 weeks later?

Now that could be a great try at a simple change. We’ve seen more players’ hearts broken by winning Davis Cup to only see it disappear in a blink. We’ve seen it break players and destroy careers.

For 365 days the winning country should enjoy the ️pleasure and ️sweet victory they earned for their country. (LJ)

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