BSP-24 Tennis federation boss defends Davis Cup reforms

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Tennis federation boss defends Davis Cup reforms

LAUSANNE, Aug 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The head of the International Tennis
Federation defended his controversial Davis Cup reform bid on Tuesday, vowing
the revamped event will bring benefits across the tennis world.

ITF chief David Haggerty’s plan, which sees the Davis Cup reduced to a
season-ending World Cup of Tennis finals featuring 18 countries, must win
approval at the federation’s annual general meeting in Orlando, Florida later
this month.

The reform bid has opponents, notably with Tennis Australia voicing
concerns about transparency and Tennis Europe expressing reservations about a
conflict with the ATP’s plan to set up a World Team Cup.

In a phone interview with AFP, Haggerty insisted his project will drive
tennis’s global development for years to come.

“There are many nations, not only in Europe but around the world, that are
in favour of the new format, they see the benefit of having a finale on one
week with 18 teams together in an iconic place,” Haggerty said.

He added that “the reforms will allow the ITF and the federations to do
what no other body does, which is to develop the future generation of
players”.

“The money will go back to the nations,” he stressed, noting that no other
body, including the ATP, has a global mandate to fund development.

The ITF reform has been boosted by a $3 billion partnership from the
investment group Kosmos, founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique, as
well as the backing of the organisers of Wimbledon, the French Open and the
US Open.

The ITF says the new format will allow it to raise the hosting standards of
the Davis Cup to a Grand Slam level, increase prize money and allow the Davis
Cup to attract more top players, in part by reducing the amount of time stars
have to commit to the competition.

Currently, the Davis Cup is structured around a 16-nation World Group,
contested over four weekends during the year. The remaining countries are
then divided into three regional zones.

Asked about the conflict with the ATP’s world team event, Haggerty said he
was “open to discussion” about potential cooperation between the two projects
but underscored that the Davis Cup’s unique history could not be matched by a
rival event.

“The Davis Cup competition is an historic event, over 100 years, it has a
great history and heritage,” he said.

Madrid and Lille are “the two leading cities” to host the first edition of
the revamped Davis Cup in November of 2019, Haggerty said.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2343 hrs