Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) executive chairman Chris Kermode has said the men’s tour is still focused on introducing a team event in the wake of reform plans that have been announced for the Davis Cup, hinting that an announcement on the matter could be imminent.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) last month hailed a major $3bn (€2.42bn) partnership with investment group Kosmos that is set to introduce a new annual season-ending national team tournament and realise long-held plans to overhaul the Davis Cup.
The 25-year contract with Kosmos, a European-based holding company focused on building a global portfolio of media and sports assets, will seek to transform the historic Davis Cup and generate substantial revenues for global tennis development.
However, the ITF’s proposal is yet to be completely sealed, potentially giving the ATP time to unveil its own competition, which may reportedly launch in January 2020. “Our focus remains on bringing the ATP World Team Cup back into the calendar, an exciting project which we've been working on for over 18 months now, with the last few details still to be finalised,” Kermode (pictured) told UK broadcaster the BBC.
“We believe we have a strong option in partnership with Tennis Australia in week one of the calendar, utilising locations which are known to showcase the sport in a very positive way. It's an option that would cause minimal disruption to existing player scheduling given that the vast majority of players are playing that week already in the southern hemisphere, and we continue to work towards bringing the event to fruition.
“The Davis Cup has over 100 years of history and the ITF are clearly looking to evolve the competition in an attempt to maximise its potential. The results of those efforts remain to be seen.”
The ITF Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed a proposal to create a major new annual season-ending World Cup of Tennis Finals that will crown the Davis Cup champions. Featuring 18 nations and played over one week in a single location in November, the event will be staged by Kosmos in partnership with the ITF.
The ITF said the investment from Kosmos will include significant increases in prize money for players and member nations, and the funding of grass roots projects and other tennis development programmes. The proposal is subject to further development, and the successful completion of due diligence and finalisation of a formal agreement.
The ITF said last month that several world-class cities have already expressed interest in hosting the new event, with the federation and Kosmos to continue discussions with a view to launching the Finals in 2019. The plans will be submitted to the ITF Annual General Meeting, to be held in August in Orlando, Florida. A two-thirds majority will be required for final approval.