The Finals of the Davis Cup tennis tournament are reportedly set to move to the United Arab Emirates from 2022, with a five-year deal said to have been signed by the event’s commercial rights-holder, Kosmos Tennis.
According to reports, Abu Dhabi would serve as the main base for the event. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is set to confirm the switch at a board meeting next week, according to the BBC.
The news has emerged as the 2021 Davis Cup Finals get underway today (Thursday), with matches being played in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Innsbruck in Austria and Turin, Italy.
Innsbruck and Turin joined Madrid as part of a revamp of the staging model from its most recent edition in 2019. Each city is hosting two of the six groups, with Madrid staging two quarter-finals, and Innsbruck and Turin one quarter-final each. Madrid will also host the semi-finals and final.
When confirming the three-city hosting model back in April, the ITF and Kosmos Tennis said the 11-day format would approve the schedule for players, enhance the experience for fans and bring the competition to a wider audience.
In 2018, Kosmos Tennis, which was founded by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, signed a 25-year agreement with the ITF to invest $3bn (£2.25bn/€2.67bn) into the sport. This year marks the final year of Madrid’s hosting agreement and the BBC reports that Kosmos is looking to ease the financial burden caused by the postponement of last year’s tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A hosting agreement with the UAE would prove financially lucrative but switching the event to the Middle East could be unpopular among fans, with the Davis Cup having become known for its vibrant atmosphere at venues across Europe over the years.
There have been no reports on the venues that will be used for the UAE’s Davis Cup Finals, but the recently opened Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi could be a contender.
Last week, it was announced that NBA games would be held in the Arabian Gulf for the first time next year after a multi-year partnership was signed between the North American basketball league and Abu Dhabi.
Two preseason games will be staged in Abu Dhabi in October 2022, although the dates and teams involved have yet to be confirmed. The venue itself is also still to be revealed, although it has been reported locally that the 18,000-capacity Etihad Arena will play host.