New reports from Reuters suggest an imminent overhaul for Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals. Heads of tennis federations indicated their desire to follow a NFL Super Bowl model which selects electing fixed-venue cities in advance for their showcase final matches.
This deviation from one of the finalists hosting the finals is a part of a broader strategy to develop men’s and women’s international tennis team events.
International Tennis Federation (ITF) Chief David Haggerty while speaking to Reuters said, “This is all part of our mission to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide.” He further added, “This is a way to unlock potential revenue which will help grassroots tennis.” David Haggerty was elected ITF President at the ITF Annual General Meeting in Santiago, Chile on in September last year.
ITF was formed in 1913 on 1 March at the first General Conference in Paris when 15 nations became the inaugural members. ITF team tennis events include Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympics Tennis Event, Paralympics Tennis and Hopman cup. Davis cup is played over four weekends during the year. Each elimination round between the competing nations is played as the best of five matches (4 singles, 1 doubles). On the other hand, Fed Cup was started in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Tennis Federation. In terms of the number of nations that compete, the Fed Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition.
Besides revamping the finals other options under the consideration of ITF include enlarging the Fed Cup top tier competition by featuring 16 nations and also changing the formats of the games to reduce the length of the matches. Reports suggest that ITF membership will vote on the proposed plans next August. For this ITF will consult with players and with other member nations in the next nine months.
Speaking about NFL and UEFA model which ITF wants to emulate in context to Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals, it must be mentioned that in NFL Super Bowl, the host city is selected well in advance, usually three-to-five years before the game. In the case of UFEA, football’s governing body of Europe, the host city in the Champions League is selected two years in advance.
Advocating the proposed revamp of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals Haggerty said, “It is really hard to plan and get viewership and fans excited. If you have a fixed site, people can begin to plan and look ahead.”