International Tennis Federation (ITF) has proposed bringing the Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals together at a neutral venue and changing the name of the entire team event to “festival of finals”. The sporting body’s board of directors has suggested implementing these reforms from 2018 for a three-year period with the matches being conducted on the hard courts of Geneva’s Palexpo. The venue has staged over ten Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties, with a capacity of over 18,000 spectators. However, the proposal will now go under further scrutiny at the ITF AGM to approve the full reform at its meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in August.
“Change is needed to ensure that we maximise the full potential of these iconic and historic competitions,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. Geneva beat out five other bids for the right to be the first host. Other cities vying for contention were Copenhagen, Miami, Istanbul, Turin, and Wuhan. In total, more than 20 cities had initially expressed interest in hosting the new season-ending event which was culled to six.
“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,” Haggerty said. ITF has looked to make the Davis Cup final into a “fifth Grand Slam” and promote it better than the likes of Super Bowl and Champions League final.
The ITF board will get feedback from the Davis Cup and Fed Cup Committees on the potential format that could also bring in the Fed Cup semifinals to expand the Fed Cup World Group from eight to 16 teams. However, the traditional home-and-away format will continue for previous rounds of Davis Cup and Fed Cup.