Tennis Australia Furious At Davis Cup Format Change
"Sad day for men's tennis."
'Radical changes' to the prestigious Davis Cup tournament have infuriated Tennis Australia, with legends of the game criticising the changes.
The changes to the 118-year-old tournament were approved at the International Tennis Federation AGM on Thursday, and needed two thirds of the 140 nations to agree.
Seventy-one per cent voted in favour -- Tennis Australia was not one of them.
"Tennis Australia is extremely disappointed with the radical changes proposed for the Davis Cup," it said in a statement.
"Reform is vital for the competition but this proposal takes away too much of what makes the Davis Cup unique and special."
The format change was the brainchild of the investment group Kosmos -- founded by Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué. Kosmos will fund the $3.76 billion plan.
Taking away the Davis Cup from the next generation is a "disgrace" said current Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt.
"Sometimes it’s more than a game. More than money. Most of my biggest highs and toughest loses came in 5 set epic Davis Cup matches in front of screaming home or away fans," he said.
The involvement of a soccer player in changing a tennis competition was slammed by Australian tennis players, who questioned what authority Piqué had.
"A footballer gets the stage at @ITF_Tennis AGM to tell us why @DavisCup needs to change but legends of the game of which there are many who disagree do not," tweeted Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge, who won the Davis Cup in 2003.
Pat Cash also weighed in on the changes, calling it a "sad day for men's tennis."
"#ITF have voted for new format of #DavisCup (its no longer Davis Cup) Fooling themselves if they think top players will play a 18 team comp over 1 week at the end of the year????" he tweeted.
What Are The New Changes?
The current set-up of the tournament sees teams play home and away matches in a year-long tournament that culminates in a final match.
As of 2019, the Davis Cup will be played at the end of the year in a round-robin tournament played over a week.
To qualify, 24 teams will take part in home and away matches in February, of which 18 will go on to the finals.