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Davis Cup set for a major revamp

September 21, 2016

The Davis Cup is set for a major revamp as future finals could be staged on neutral soil.

Under proposals being considered by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), cities would be able to bid for the right to host the finals of both the Davis Cup and its female equivalent, the Federation Cup.

At present, every Davis Cup tie is played on the basis that whoever was at home when the two teams last met, they will be away next time. It was on that basis that Great Britain played Argentina at home last weekend, and had to play away in last year's final in Belgium. The team playing at home chooses which venue the tie will be played at, with British home ties being played in venues ranging from the grass courts of Wimbledon and the Queen's Club to Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena and Glasgow's Emirates Arena.

The chance to see stars like Andy and Jamie Murray has been a treat for fans around the country, although the next opportunity to do so will be not in the Davis Cup, but in the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena in November.

Other changes could include reducing matches in the Davis Cup from three days to two, with matches shortened to best-of-three sets.

ITF president David Haggerty said: "This is part of our mission to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide," adding: "By having a full year or two to plan we can do more for sponsors and fans with a stadium that's an appropriate size."

If the plans are approved next year, they could come into effect in 2018.

Debate has raged about the future of the Davis Cup, with some arguing that the crowded tennis schedule means it should not occur in an Olympic year. Others have questioned the timing of the rounds, particularly with ties taking place within a week of the conclusion of Grand Slam events, providing a disincentive for top players to take part.

Even Andy Murray felt unable to play in Great Britain's tie against Serbia this year, having barely finished parading the Wimbledon men's singles trophy before the Great Britain team had to fly out to Belgrade.

By Sam Coates

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