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Davis Cup to remain an annual event, says ITF president

Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), has confirmed that the Davis Cup national team tournament will remain an annual event despite complaints from some players that it over-burdens a crowded schedule.

Czech player Tomas Berdych, who has won the Davis Cup twice during his career, is one of a number of professionals to have criticised the organisation of the tournament. Earlier this year, Berdych said that the event has a detrimental effect on his individual career and it would be better suited to being a biennial event. Other players have suggested that the historic event be scrapped altogether.

However, Ricci Bitti has rejected this criticism and confirmed the Davis Cup will remain an annual fixture in the professional tennis calendar. “We don't agree with this (a biennial event) because the calendar of tennis is annual – if you take something away, it's very difficult the year after,” Ricci Bitti said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Ricci Bitti said the ITF will insist on two other principles for the Davis Cup, one being that ties are played on a home and away basis and that national associations select players to take part. He also conceded that while some leading players miss the tournament due to fatigue, their absence is only highlighted when it was the Davis Cup team event rather than other singles or doubles tournaments.

In addition, Ricci Bitti also said that the structure of matches could be changed in order to help keep supporters interested in the sport. “"Tennis is becoming longer in terms of rallies and so the peak of attention both for television and the spectator is at the end of the set,” he added.

"It would be better to have five sets at four (games) then three sets at six because you have more peak of attention, but this is just a vision for the future. To change the rules of the game you need the consensus of the players, of many people.”

The debate over the future of the Davis Cup comes as another team-based tournament, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), prepares to make its debut on November 28. The Asia-based tournament will feature current stars of the men’s and women’s tours, alongside legends of the sport.

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