Neutral venue for Davis, Fed Cup finals?

Tennis ball (File)
Tennis ball (File)

Los Angeles - The President of the International Tennis Federation has raised the prospect of a radical overhaul of the Davis Cup and Fed Cups which would see the tournament finale played on neutral soil between four finalists.

Newly installed ITF chief David Haggerty said he was interested in exploring the possibility of a "final four" concept as part of moves to "polish and update" the competitions.

"A fundamental thing that I think is important to Davis Cup and Fed Cup is the home-and-away format, especially in the earlier rounds," Haggerty told the latest issue of ITF World magazine in an interview.

"What would be very interesting to me is a final four concept. In the final week, generally in November, we would have the final four teams come together in a neutral location somewhere to be determined.

"We would be able to plan in advance where that is. We could have the semi-finals in the first three days, a day of rest and then three days for the final," Haggerty was quoted as saying.

Under the current format, Davis Cup finals are played on the home soil of one of the two finalists.

Haggerty said another idea would be to give the finalist and runner-up a bye in the first round of the next year's competition.

"One of the things that confuses spectators and players is that you are the world champion in November, and then you are defending in January or February," he said.

Haggerty said changes to the existing set-up would be made in the interests of fans and players.

"For me the most important thing is the fans," Haggerty said.

"We've got to make sure what we do resonates with the fans and spectators. It has to be player-friendly so that they will want to play in the competition every year.

"I think it's got to work for the nations and we also have to collaborate with the tours and the Grand Slams to have the whole tennis body embrace whatever it is that we do.

"I will ensure that a lot of collaboration will take place in order to get to the right ending whatever that happens to be. It is a great property, but I want to polish it a little bit more and update it to stay current with the expectations of the fans as well as the players."

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