The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has approved plans to make the finals of this year’s Davis Cup an 11-day event and is considering a proposal to expand the number of host cities from one to three.
This year’s tournament will now take place from November 25 to December 5, with the ITF Board also approving a transition from 18 to 16 teams from 2022.
The Spanish capital of Madrid has an agreement in place to host this year’s Finals but the ITF Board has confirmed that it will enter a period of consultation over the introduction of a multi-city format. The announcement comes following proposals from event partner Kosmos Tennis, which in 2018 signed a 25-year agreement with the ITF to invest $3bn (£2.2bn/€2.47bn) into the sport.
The proposals for the expansion of the finals are aimed at improving the schedule for players, enhancing the fan experience and bringing the Davis Cup to a wider audience. The multi-city format would see two European cities join Madrid as hosts this year.
Madrid’s La Caja Mágica would retain hosting rights to the semi-finals and final, as well as two group stages and two quarter-finals. The two new cities would each host two group stages and one quarter-final.
Kosmos Tennis has launched an open bidding process to identify a shortlist of European cities to potentially join Madrid in hosting this year’s finals. A final decision will be made in March, with the ITF to consider hosting and COVID-19 contingency proposals received from the bidders.
Davis Cup Finals tournament director Albert Costa said: “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. We are committed to a long-term vision for this historic competition and are confident these adjustments will enhance the experience for players and fans.
“With large stadiums providing show courts for all ties, the introduction of a multi-city event will bring the competition to the widest possible audience, while we will also be able to ease the burden on players with improvements to the scheduling. Crucially, a revised schedule will allow us to avoid late finishes while providing more rest for players.”
Madrid was awarded hosting rights to the revamped Davis Cup Finals in September 2018. The agreement covered the 2019 and 2020 editions of the tournament, although last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The revamp of the Davis Cup saw the event move away from its traditional season-long format and adopt a more condensed, World Cup-style approach featuring 18 teams. Spain, led by Rafael Nadal (pictured), won the first edition of the revamped tournament in November 2019.