The ITF has announced a series of changes and is also considering a string of others in order to improve the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals.
In 2019 as we know the event underwent a significant change. The biggest change to the historical format was that the finals took place in one location over one week, featuring more than just two nations who had qualified for the final in the past. After a ‘thorough review’ of the inaugural event in Madrid, the ITF has announced changes to the tournament over the coming years.
Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Albert Costa said in a statement that, “we recognise that the most successful tournaments adapt and evolve over time, and while the inaugural Davis Cup Finals delivered fantastic tennis, it also provided some learnings.”
The ITF has already accepted two proposals from Kosmos - the financial group who in 2018 invested 3 billion dollars to partner the ITF to transform the Davis Cup.
The first proposal to be approved is that the Davis Cup will now become an 11-day event, in order to reduce the ‘burden on players.’ The event in 2021 will take place from 25th November to 5th December.
Furthermore, the board also approved a reduction in teams from 18 down to 16 from 2022 onwards.
After confirming the changes, it was also announced the ITF board will now meet to discuss the possibility of a multi-city format from this year onwards. Under the new proposal for a multi-city approach, two other European cities would join Madrid as hosts this year. ‘Under this approach, the two new cities would each host two group stages and one quarter-final, with Madrid hosting two group stages and two quarter-finals, as well as both the semi-finals and the final.’
After thoroughly reviewing the first instalment of the event in 2019, the ITF is looking to improve player scheduling, enhancing the fan experience and engagement, and hoping to expand the competition to a wider audience.
ITF Senior Executive Director Kris Dent explained: “it was clear that the 2019 Finals would have benefited from some revisions to the playing and hosting format.”
Kosmos Tennis has opened a bidding process for cities to join Madrid as hosts for the event in 2021.
The draw for the 18 teams in 2021 has already been set. The draw event took place in March 2020 and will carry over to this year after the cancellation of last year’s event.
“After the disappointment of having to cancel the 2020 edition, we are now focused on delivering the best possible event in 2021,” Dent announced.