ITF announce plans to transform Davis Cup with World Cup of Tennis
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced plans to revolutionise the Davis Cup with the introduction of an annual World Cup of Tennis Finals from 2019.
There have long since been calls for a Davis Cup shake-up and the ITF board of directors have endorsed a 25-year $3billion partnership with investment group Kosmos for that to come to fruition, subject to approval at the governing body's annual general meeting in August.
Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique, founder and president of Kosmos. last year emerged as an unlikely key figure in proposals to introduce the new competition amid concerns over the absence of high-profile players from Davis Cup contests.
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal backed Pique plans and the ITF on Monday revealed that 18 nations are set to compete in a one-week tournament staged at a world-class location in November, with the winner crowned Davis Cup champions.
If the proposals are passed, the event would be staged in the same week that the Davis Cup final is currently held, with a round-robin format followed by knockout stages and ties consisting of two singles and one doubles match.
There will be no change to the format of zone group competition.
ITF president David Haggerty said: "This is a complete game-changer for the ITF and for tennis. 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."
Pique said: "Kosmos is thrilled to join in this exciting partnership with the ITF. Together we can elevate Davis Cup by BNP Paribas to new heights by putting on a must-see World Cup of Tennis Finals featuring the top nations and top players.
"Kosmos will also invest $3billion over 25 years into tennis that will help develop the game worldwide."