Greg Rusedski unconvinced by 'extreme' Davis Cup format change

The Davis Cup is an 118-year-old competition

World tennis chiefs on Thursday approved a radical Davis Cup revamp that will overhaul the 118-year-old competition, condensing the annual worldwide showpiece into an 18-team, week-long event.

The first championship in this new series will take place in either Madrid or Lille, France from November 18-24, 2019, the ITF has said.

The reform plan will create November finals with 18 teams: 12 winners from 24-team home and away qualifying ties in February, the previous year's four semifinalists and two wild-card nations.

The ITF outlined the changes in conjunction with Kosmos, a company founded and chaired by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique. The Davis Cup didn't just get a facelift; it has become a different being altogether.

Haggerty vows more money, about $25 million, will go to national tennis associations to invest in grassroots level support.

The USTA said the new format would "project Davis Cup into the 21st century" and elevate the competition to "the heights it deserves".

The new format involves 18 teams - that includes two wild cards - shuffled into six groups of three, where the victor and top two runners-up would proceed to a knockout stage started from the quarterfinals.

Beginning in 2019, the Davis Cup will be condensed from a almost year-round event to two weeks.

"I am delighted that the nations have today voted to secure the long-term status of the Davis Cup", Haggerty said. "I would also like to congratulate all those who, with their votes, have embraced this change and have seen the momentous decision that was in their hands", said Pique.

It will have double the total prize money and matches in the world group will be shortened from best of five to best of three sets.

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"The ITF now has a major responsibility to ensure the great heritage and prestige of the competition is somehow retained in this new version of Davis Cup".

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash described it in a tweet as "a sad day for men's tennis", accusing organizers of "fooling themselves" if they thought top players would be attracted to compete.

The new format would cut the Davis Cup time commitment in half.

However, an increasing number of top players have skipped matches in recent years to ease their schedule.

Pique spoke to the assembly and tried to unify as well, saying, "To the ones that voted against we'll try to prove that we can deliver the greatest Davis Cup competition ever".

What is the current format and how will it change?

The ATP intends to stage a revamped World Team Cup in Australia in the first week of January from 2020 - less than two months after the conclusion of the Davis Cup finale in November.

Pique, however, revelled in his, Kosmos' and the ITF's success following the vote among the national tennis federations in Orlando. Current world number one Rafael Nadal and former number one Novak Djokovic are among the players in support of the reforms. "It guarantees the future of Davis Cup for 25 years".

The top teams from each group and the two highest-scoring runners-up will play the quarter-finals on the Friday, with the semi-finals on Saturday and the final held on Sunday.

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