The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has today (Wednesday) announced that Geneva is set to host a new end of season event that will combine the finals of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup national team tournaments.
Today’s announcement is the latest development as the ITF seeks to revamp its showpiece men’s and women’s team competitions. The Swiss city has been selected by the ITF’s board of directors as the preferred bid for the new World Cup of Tennis finals.
The new event, which would start in November 2018 for a three-year period, would be staged on hard court at Palexpo. The venue has staged over 10 Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties, with a capacity of over 18,000 spectators.
Geneva was chosen by the ITF board from a shortlist of six cities across three continents that also included Copenhagen (Denmark), Miami (USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Turin (Italy) and Wuhan (China). The ITF said all six cities submitted world-class bids to host a combined Davis Cup and Fed Cup event. In total, more than 20 cities expressed interest in hosting the new season-ending showpiece.
The ITF board will receive feedback from the Davis Cup and Fed Cup Committees on the potential format of the event that could also include the Fed Cup semi-finals in a move that would allow the Fed Cup World Group to expand from eight to 16 teams. The traditional home-and-away format will continue for all other rounds of Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
The ITF said having a pre-selected venue will give the finals a fitting global platform, pointing to a model that has proved highly successful in other sports, such as football’s Uefa Champions League and American football’s Super Bowl. The Davis and Fed Cups currently utilise a strategy whereby one of the finalists, based on the draw, decides on the venue.
ITF president David Haggerty (pictured) said: “The creation of the World Cup of Tennis finals is at the heart of a series of reforms that represent the most significant changes in the history of Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. Change is needed to ensure that we maximise the full potential of these iconic and historic competitions. We’ve consulted widely and listened carefully, and believe we will deliver an exceptional new event for fans, players and nations.
“By providing Geneva with a full year to organise and promote the event, it will be able to fully maximise the competition’s potential, elevating venue and hosting standards to a consistent Grand Slam level and delivering the very best athlete and fan experience.
“All six cities were highly capable and presented outstanding bids, and each would have been an excellent choice. In the end, the Board felt that Geneva offered the best conditions for hosting this exciting and innovative new event, and will deliver a truly world-class event.”
The finals are the centrepiece of a series of historic reforms that aim to transform Davis Cup and Fed Cup, the largest annual team competitions in sport. The ITF AGM will be asked to approve the full reform package at its meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in August.
The 2016 Davis and Fed Cups were won by Argentina and the Czech Republic, respectively.