In a move that could shake up one of the sport’s biggest events, the International Tennis Federation’s board of directors approved a plan to stage the final phases of the Davis Cup men’s team competition and the Fed Cup women’s team competition together the next three years.
A new combined season-ending event, the World Cup of Tennis finals, will be the highlight of a series of historic reforms aimed at transforming the annual national team competitions. The board also approved the first site for the new combined, annual event: Geneva, which was selected from a list of six finalists that included Turin, Italy; Wuhan, China; Miami; Istanbul; and Copenhagen.
The combined finals would be staged indoors at an arena in the Palexpo exhibition center, which has a capacity of about 18.000, in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The wording of the ITF’s release on Wednesday had the simultaneous ring of relief at a tough decision finally made and crossed-fingers optimism that disturbing more than a century of tradition will not backfire.
“The finals are the centre-piece of a series of historic reforms that will transform Davis Cup and Fed Cup, the largest annual team competitions in sport,” the statement announced. “The ITF AGM will be asked to approve the full reform package at its meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in August.” "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," added Hagerty.
"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." Steve Simon, chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association, has expressed support for the plan.
“I think it is great, to be honest,” Simon said. “I think the more times our sport is played together, the better we do as a sport. At the highest level, which is at Grand Slam events, the sport is combined, and I think bringing men and women together is what separates us from the other sports.
Conceptually, to do that makes a whole lot of sense.”