Australia are no fans of the proposed new format.
Australia are no fans of the proposed new format.

Australia takes stand against Davis Cup revamp

THE International Tennis Federation (ITF) has hit back at accusations that there has been a lack of transparency about the proposed revamp of the Davis Cup and said it is confident the new plans would deliver long-term benefits to players, nations and sponsors.

Tennis Australia had said in a strongly-worded letter that it planned to "vote against the proposed amendments" at the ITF's August 13-16 AGM in Orlando, Florida, since the reform process had been "far from transparent".

Tennis Europe, a regional governing body representing 50 member nations, also said it opposed the ITF's plans to transform the 118-year-old Davis Cup into an 18-team, one-week season finale that is due to be held in November 2019.

However, the ITF said the Davis Cup's new guise as the World Cup of Tennis would safeguard the future of the sport as it was being set up in a 25-year, $4.1 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos and also had the backing of Wimbledon, French and US Open officials.

"The ITF has travelled extensively to consult with all stakeholders in tennis and incorporated their feedback to develop a reform package for the Davis Cup which delivers long-term benefits for players, nations, fans, sponsors and broadcasters," the ITF said in a statement.

"Rigorous due diligence has been undertaken by independent experts and the ITF has complete confidence in its partners, Kosmos, to deliver these transformational reforms."

A World Cup Team event could be played in the build-up to the Australian Open.
A World Cup Team event could be played in the build-up to the Australian Open.

Tennis Europe said there was no clarity about how Kosmos, which was founded by Barcelona and Spain soccer player Gerard Pique, planned to guarantee "US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years".

The ITF's shake-up of the Davis Cup has been undermined after the men's governing body, the ATP, announced plans to introduce a rival 24-team World Team Cup, offering $15 million in prizemoney plus ranking points, into the calendar from early 2020 in Australia.

The ATP's venture is endorsed by Tennis Australia.

A smaller World Team Cup was held from 1978 to 2012 in Germany but offered no ranking points.

The new competition is expected to be a part of the build-up to January's Australian Open.

The prospect of staging two rival team competitions within a few weeks in a crowded men's calendar has put the ITF and ATP on a collision course as many players may opt to compete in only one of the events.

"We are focused on more than protecting the interests of any one nation; we are focused on doing what is best for the whole of tennis," the ITF said.

"The reforms the ITF is proposing will secure the Davis Cup's long-term status. The ITF ... is the only body in tennis that invests in the future development of tennis and the Davis Cup is critical to generating the revenue to fund this development."