ITF Davis Cup Reform: A Wasted Opportunity

Feb 11, 2018
Dirk Hordorff / DTB Vice President


It could have been so easy. No event can be a success without the support of the players. The ATP players reached out and submitted reasonable proposals for Davis Cup modifications. But a lack of economic understanding have led the ITF into a dead end. In this context, you can look at the irrational idea of a joint neutral final in the Davis Cup and semi-final and final in the Fed Cup in Geneva. But the calculation did not work and the board members of the ITF finally recognized that and pulled the emergency brake. Suddenly the Geneva idea was pulled out of circulation before the ITF meeting.

And then the best part; 2 out of 3 format instead of 3 out of 5! That’s how Mr. David Haggerty wanted to increase his popularity among the players.

If you understand tennis then you should be able to imagine what the fans expect. Fans do not want to buy an expensive ticket for a match that lasts perhaps only 91 minutes and then to be sent home. If you want to bring tennis forward, you have to think a little further. Especially long term because even more important than the opinion of individual players is the acceptance of the tennis fans and those who you could possibly win as new tennis enthusiasts. Canteen tennis is certainly contra productive.

A much better solution would be to follow the proposal of the ATP Players Council. The pros have already sent a letter to David Haggerty after US Open 2016 and made clear and reasonable suggestions. The ITF should have taken this opportunity but the letter has not even been made accessible to all board members. If you destroy opportunities, you will not be able to successfully bring all parties together. As I said, a great opportunity wasted.

How easy it would have been to play the Davis Cup in the same format as the Fed Cup. On two days, with best of 3 sets, with the doubles at the end. At the very least, it would be ensured that every encounter was not decided at the beginning. This would have been supported by the DTB.

With sensible minds in the ITF organization, it is possible to reorganize and revive these team competitions. It would be sad if the ITF destroys its premium events. The DTB has supported the proposals at the last General Meeting with less set-up times and fewer commitments in the program and will continue to be willing to actively participate in meaningful reforms for Davis and Fed Cup. There are solutions that would be supported by the players and fans. If players are enthusiastic about the event, then fans will be coming to watch as well, the whole story will be a…
To read the full article
More articles
Adam Blicher / Contributor

Q&A with Carlos Kirmayr

ELITE TENNIS / Interview

Q&A with Patrick Mouratoglou

On Tour
Tom Downs / WTA Coach

Learning from Elena