ORLANDO — A major Davis Cup revamp that would condense the annual global tournament into an 18-team, week-long event will be voted upon Thursday with major tennis leaders divided over the proposal.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) annual meeting in Orlando will see about 120 delegates decide the fate of the 118-year-old men’s team competition with two-thirds majority support needed to approve the measure, which is backed by federation president David Haggerty.
Kosmos, a group led and founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique and backed by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, has vowed $3 billion over 25 years to support the new event.
Haggerty vows more money, about $25 million, will go to national tennis associations to invest in grassroots level support.
“The money that we make will be put back to the nations for their development programs and the future of tennis,” Haggerty said.
But opponents of the plan include Tennis Australia and Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
“There are a lot of people, a lot of current and former players, who are frustrated by it and see this as a money grab,” Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said.
Added Aussie tennis legend John Newcombe: “Unfortunately their plan is a recipe for the death of the Davis Cup as we know it.”
The LTA came out against the reforms Wednesday ahead of ITF delegate discussion on the plan.
“After consulting widely, regrettably, we do not feel we can support the proposals as they stand,” said LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd.
An LTA statement cited concern over scheduling the event in November, stretching the schedule after the ATP season-finale into an already-thin off-season, risking top player attendance and fan support. The LTA also raised concerns over “the clarity of how the business case will work in practice” and the great division over the idea. — AFP