The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has said it is analysing bids to host the finals of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup at neutral venues after its board of directors approved a series of reforms for the national team competitions.
ITF president David Haggerty last September revealed plans to introduce fixed host cities for future editions of the tournaments’ finals. The Davis and Fed Cups currently utilise a strategy whereby one of the finalists, based on the draw, decides on the venue.
Haggerty said at the time that he hoped the new system would be in place by 2018, with winning bidders likely to gain multi-year deals. The bidding process for interested parties began in December with the ITF board set to discuss the matter further later this month.
Under the competition reforms approved by the ITF, all singles matches in the men’s Davis Cup will be played as best-of-three sets fixtures, as opposed to best-of-five sets. The Davis Cup will continue to operate under a three-day format, with doubles to remain on the Saturday and be decided over five sets.
The finalists for the Davis Cup and the women’s Fed Cup will also be guaranteed the choice of hosting their first-round tie the following year, with hosting costs for national associations set to be reduced.
The ITF also said the tournaments’ dead rubber policy would be “amended” to reduce the number of meaningless matches. The ITF AGM will be asked to approve the reforms at its meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in August.
Haggerty said: “Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas are two of the most iconic team competitions in sport, but there is no doubt change is needed to ensure that we maximise their full potential. While still needing AGM approval, we are confident that our national associations will see that to vote for these reforms is to vote for the long-term future of our competitions and our sport.”
The 2016 Davis and Fed Cups were won by Argentina and Czech Republic, respectively.