Geneva selected as preferred bid to host combined World Cup of Tennis finals - as part of historic reforms for Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
- Palexpo to host festival of tennis including Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals
- Combined finals to unlock new revenues for tennis development, increased prize money and player bonus pool
- Part of wide-ranging reform package that already includes best-of-3 sets for Davis Cup singles matches
- ITF AGM will be asked to approve reform package in August 2017
The ITF Board of Directors has selected Geneva as the preferred bid to host the World Cup of Tennis finals - a new combined season-ending event including the finals of Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. The finals are the centrepiece of a series of historic reforms that will transform Davis Cup and Fed Cup, the largest annual team competitions in sport.
The ITF AGM will be asked to approve the full reform package at its meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in August 2017.
The new event, which would start in November 2018 for a three-year period, would be staged on hard court at Palexpo. The venue has staged over ten Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties, with a capacity of over 18,000 spectators.
Geneva was chosen by the Board at their meeting in Frankfurt on Tuesday from a shortlist of six cities across three continents that also included Copenhagen (Denmark), Istanbul (Turkey), Miami (USA), Turin (Italy), and Wuhan (China). All six cities submitted world-class bids to host a combined Davis Cup and Fed Cup event, reflecting the consensus in the market that combined finals would be more attractive for fans, sponsors and broadcasters. In total, more than 20 cities expressed interest in hosting the new season-ending event.
The Board will receive feedback from the Davis Cup and Fed Cup Committees on the potential format of the event that could also include the Fed Cup semifinals in a move that would allow the Fed Cup World Group to expand from eight to 16 teams. The traditional home-and-away format will continue for all other rounds of Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
The World Cup of Tennis finals will be a true festival of tennis that will raise the ITF’s flagship team competitions to a new level and bring certainty to hosting and venue standards. The finals will also unlock new revenues that will be put into increased prize money, player participation incentives and worldwide tennis development.
ITF President David Haggerty said: “The creation of the World Cup of Tennis finals is at the heart of a series of reforms that represent the most significant changes in the history of Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. Change is needed to ensure that we maximise the full potential of these iconic and historic competitions. We’ve consulted widely and listened carefully, and believe we will deliver an exceptional new event for fans, players and nations.”
Having a pre-selected venue will give the finals a fitting global platform, a model that has proved highly successful in other sports, such as the UEFA Champions League and NFL’s Super Bowl.
Haggerty added: “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.
“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.”
President of Swiss Tennis Rene Stammbach said: “Together with my Swiss Tennis Board, Palexpo Chairman Robert Hensler, and over half a million tennis fans in Switzerland and the many more abroad, I’m delighted that Geneva – the Swiss capital of Davis Cup and Fed Cup home ties - has been chosen as the preferred bid for this prestigious ITF team competition. If approved by the ITF AGM, this year-end festival will be a highlight of the international tennis agenda from 2018, and contribute to the growth of the game in Switzerland.”
The ITF’s wide-ranging reform package is designed to enhance Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas for all stakeholders, including players and National Associations. Other reforms previously approved by the Board include playing all Davis Cup singles matches as best-of-three sets, and guaranteeing Davis Cup and Fed Cup finalists the choice of hosting their first-round tie in the following year.