ITF chief says no plans to change Davis Cup format, eyes like-minded sponsors

ITF chief says no plans to change Davis Cup format, eyes like-minded sponsors

BENGALURU, Feb 14 (Reuters) – The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will stick with the existing Davis Cup format despite ending its partnership with investment group Kosmos, which led to the revamp of the men’s team competition, its chief David Haggerty told Reuters.

The governing body of the sport said last month that it was ending the partnership five years into its 25-year, $3 billion agreement unveiled in 2018 amid much fanfare over promises to deliver “long-term benefits” for fans and stakeholders.

The deal with Kosmos — which is fronted by former Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique — had led to a total overhaul of the competition founded in 1900, with the usual home-and-away ties played over a few weekends in the year scrapped.

That format was replaced in 2019 with only one home-and-away round followed by 18 teams competing in one city for a week-long climax to the season. The 2021 finale was held across 11 days in three cities after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to COVID-19.

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This year, the group stage will take place at four venues from Sept. 12-17 featuring 16 teams, with eight teams advancing to the knockout rounds in Malaga in November.

“We’re very excited with the format we have. If you go back to the old format, the problem was that the players would have to commit four weeks a year to play,” Haggerty told Reuters.

“They wouldn’t know where they were playing. They wouldn’t know the weeks they were playing and they didn’t know who their opponents were. That was one of the big reasons we went through the consultation and made the changes for the 2019 edition.

“We like that it’s defined. We’re looking to make sure we have the best players competing and that we have fans in the stadium and followers around the world.

“Last year we were broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories, so it’s ticking all those boxes and making sure we continue to grow the strength of the competition.”


The London-based ITF said last month that it had financial contingencies in place to run the 2023 competition and Haggerty added the body was in “robust financial shape” despite the end of the Kosmos deal.

“The board planned for the Davis Cup with Kosmos and without Kosmos,” Haggerty added.

“So we continue to move forward. Our relationship with the ATP is one of the game-changers… so obviously we’ll work with them to find ways to improve the competition, just like we do every year.

“The Grand Slam tournaments have (also) talked about their support for the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup as the two team competitions that sit at the at the top of the game alongside the Grand Slams and other big events.

“We’ll continue to find good partners, like-minded partners and sponsors.”

The ITF’s growing cooperation with the ATP had opened the possibility of ranking points at the Davis Cup, where players are selected by national team captains.

“As part of our arrangement, there is the possibility of ranking points,” Haggerty added.

“But this competition is different than a tournament because you play as a team and not as individuals.

“So ranking points… are not needed, in our opinion.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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