Rival bodies at war over schedule
The ATP and ITF appear to be headed into a bitter showdown over in a scheduling feud, which has both tennis bureaucracies on the back foot as the revised Davis Cup and the re-branded World Team Cup enter a war of words.
Tennis Australia – backer of the relaunch of the World Team Cup which would likely wipe out men’s January events including the three-decade-old Hopman Cup as well as ATP events in Brisbane and Sydney – has said that the rival International Tennis Federation is blowing smoke in a controversial re-write of the century-old Davis Cup.
Under a plan expected to be voted on shortly by ITF member federations, the proposal being ram-rodded through by ITF boss David Haggerty would reduced the four-times-per-year competition to one mega-event in late November.
That kind of timing would certainly have an effect on player participation in the WTSm, which would start roughly six weeks later after the usual brief tennis off-season.
Tennis Australia, for one, has said it will not support the proposal and stands as a powerful enemy to the ITF.
The ITF plan would throw USD 3 billion into the prize pot over 25 years in a hope of attracting top tennis nations.
Reuters reported a letter from the Australians to the ITF in London saying the federation would “vote against the proposed amendments” at the meeting August 13-16 in Orlando, Florida. It also called the reform plan “far from transparent”.
The move is also opposed by Tennis Europe, a regional governing body representing 50 nations. it also refuses to go along with a re-vamp of the competition which would condense the Davis Cup into a one-week, 18 nation shootout, with the first edition hopefully set for November, 2019.
The IFT fought back with it’s own version of events: “The ITF has travelled extensively to consult with all stakeholders in tennis and incorporated their feedback to develop a reform package for the Davis Cup which delivers long-term benefits for players, nations, fans, sponsors and broadcasters.
“Rigorous due diligence has been undertaken by independent experts and the ITF has complete confidence in its partners (Kosmos) to deliver these transformational reforms.”
The ITF insists: “We are focused on more than protecting the interests of any one nation; we are focused on doing what is best for the whole of tennis,” the ITF said.
The WTC died without sponsor interest in 2012 after being staged their each May since 1978 on clay the week prior to the French Open start.