Davis Cup makeover plans backed by ITF

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World tennis chiefs on Thursday approved a radical Davis Cup overhaul that will condense the 118-year-old worldwide showpiece into an 18-team, week-long event but critics blasted the changes as a "black day" for the sport.

The LTA cited concern over holding the event in November, stretching the schedule after the ATP season-finale into an already-thin off-season, risking top player attendance, fan support and telecaster interest.

Despite the Lawn Tennis Association's 11th-hour decision not to support the controversial plan on behalf of Great Britain, the ITF still surpassed the two-thirds majority required, receiving support from 71 per cent of member nations.

Beginning in 2019, 24 nations will compete in a home-or-away qualifying round in February, with the 12 winners advancing to the final tournament.

The four semi-finalists from the previous year and two wild-card teams would join them in the 18-team year-end event.

Instead of a usual World Group with 16 teams and four round of home and away ties, the new system includes 18 teams that will fight for the crown in a single week event between November 18-24 in Madrid or Lille (both Spain and France voted for the changes).

"This proposal takes away too much of what makes the Davis Cup special and unique", read a statement from Tennis Australia, who are backing the ATP's venture.

The USTA said the new format would "project Davis Cup into the 21st century" and elevate the competition to "the heights it deserves".

Rather than ties consisting of four singles and one doubles match, played over five sets, the truncated version will see only three-set affairs, each tie comprising two singles and one doubles contest.

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"We are convinced that the agreement guarantees the future of the Davis Cup and the development of tennis at all levels", said Pique, whose group will invest almost three billion dollars over the next 25 years.

"I am obviously totally against these changes to Davis Cup and pretty frustrated by what has occurred and the lack of information available", said Hewitt, a two-time victor of the Davis Cup and Australia's most successful singles player in the century-old event.

The Americans will play at Croatia in this year's semifinals in September, and Spain and France meet in the other semifinals.

The likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have previously expressed their support for the changes, although those views were by no means universally held - the likes of Lleyton Hewitt and Lucas Pouille particularly outspoken in their dislike of the proposed format.

Australian professional John Millman tweeted: "How do you think a tennis player, backed by a billionaire, would fare wanting to change the whole format of football's 63 year old Champions League competition?"

He doesn't want a format change that might deny him such a thrill.

He and Dimitrov split the first two sets and then headed inside for a long rain delay. They'll resume in the morning.

Keys had lost five straight matches against No. 4 Kerber, but turned to her forehand to rally for a 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 victory. "That's why I understand the people who can doubt", Pique said later. "I have never done it". I don't believe they are going to get every single big-name player.

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