Plans to revamp Davis Cup, Fed Cup finals

Tennis chiefs plan to adopt the NFL’s Super Bowl model, selecting fixed-venue cities in advance for their showcase Davis and Fed Cup finals.

The switch from one finalist hosting the decider is part of a broader strategy to develop the men’s and women’s international team events.

“This is all part of our mission to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide,” International Tennis Federation president (ITF) David Haggerty told Reuters.

Other options include tweaking formats to reduce the length of matches, and expanding the top-tier Fed Cup competition to feature 16 nations.

Haggerty hopes to have the new hosting system in place by 2018.

“Davis Cup is 135 nations. This is a way to unlock potential revenue which will help grassroots tennis.

“We’re waiting for cities to distinguish themselves,” he smiled. “And we’ll see what it is. I don’t want to prejudge what it might be.”

The ITF membership will vote on the plans next August.

For Super Bowl, the host city is selected well in advance, usually three to five years before the decider.

Similarly, European soccer’s governing body UEFA chooses the host city for the Champions League final two years ahead of time.

Haggerty said he hoped to see cities, federations and their sponsors come together to bid for 2018.

“The most likely scenario would be for two-to-three-year terms,” said the American.

“Right now, we know who are in the finals but we don’t know where it is going to be.”

Croatia will host Argentina for the 2016 Davis Cup title after winning their respective semi-finals but a host city is yet to be named.

“It is really hard to plan and get viewership and fans excited,” Haggerty said of the current format. “If you have a fixed site, people can begin to plan and look ahead.

Haggerty is eager to introduce an expanded Fed Cup top group, and introduce a final-four format.

“We are going to spend the next nine months working with players, with our nations, talking about other possibilities, such as formats.

“Should it be in Davis Cup, two out of three sets, or three out of five? It could be looking at a two-day format.

“Our mission is to make tennis broad and wide. We have 700,000 spectators that come to Davis and Fed Cup each year … about 3.6 billion people view it on TV, but it’s got to be more than that.

“We can make this into a much more massive win for tennis.”

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