ITF to defer vote on World Cup of Tennis launch

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has postponed the proposed introduction of its new World Cup of Tennis to allow for further consultation with stakeholders.

Last month the ITF board approved the launch of the World Cup of Tennis finals in November 2018 as part of a series of reforms to the Davis Cup and Fed Cup men’s and women’s national team competitions, pending approval at the governing body’s annual general meeting in Vietnam on August 4.

The ITF announced last month that Geneva had been selected by the governing body’s board as the ‘preferred bid’ to host the first three editions of the new annual end-of-season event, featuring the conclusion of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, from 2018 to 2020.

However, following consultations with stakeholders, the ITF said that it would defer putting the launch of the World Cup of Tennis forward for approval until the 2018 AGM “to allow more time to reach alignment.”

In announcing the move, ITF president David Haggerty confirmed that a World Cup of Tennis Finals task force would be established to work on finalising the implementation of the event, with board members Katrina Adams and Bernard Giudicelli serving as co-chairs. Further appointments, including external experts, will be announced in due course.

“We promised change and are already delivering change with a significant series of reforms,” Haggerty said. “Taking another year to build consensus around the World Cup of Tennis Finals will allow us to finalise an even stronger recommendation to the AGM. This decision shows that we do not act unilaterally, and are working with all our stakeholders to find the best solution for tennis.

“The World Cup of Tennis finals will unlock considerable new revenue for investing back into the sport through the ITF’s member nations. Investment in the development of the next generation remains the priority of the ITF and its national associations.”

The ITF said that the World Cup of Tennis finals would form part of a wider discussion process regarding the dates, formats and tennis calendars from 2019 onwards, with the governing body remaining committed to expanding the Fed Cup World Group from eight to 16 teams.

Other reforms approved by the ITF board and set to be put to a vote at this year’s AGM, for introduction next year, include all Davis Cup singles matches being played as best-of-three tiebreak sets.

Additionally, the finalists in both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup will be given the choice of hosting their first-round tie in the following year, while the Davis Cup dead rubber policy will be amended to reduce the number of such matches.

Hosting costs for national associations will also be reduced, while player on-site commitments will also be scaled back.