Madrid has been chosen to host the first two new-format Davis Cup finals in 2019 and 2020, the organisers of the venerable men’s team tennis event said Thursday.
Under a format proposed by the Kosmos group, headed by Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, and adopted by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in August, the competition will bring together 18 nations in one place for a week at the end of the tennis season.
“We are delighted to be bringing the 2019 Davis Cup… finals to Madrid,” ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement.
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“The city is a fitting location to stage the highest quality tennis and great entertainment for thousands of fans from all over the world,” he added.
The revamped finals are scheduled to take place at La Caja Magica, the current venue for the Madrid Open, in 2019.
For 2020 organisers still must decide between holding the event either at the same location or at the WiZink Center.
Kosmos, an investment group led by Pique with Japanese and Chinese support, will spend $3 billion over 25 years on the revamped 118-year-old Davis Cup.
The current Davis Cup format is a knockout event played February, July, September and November at venues around the globe, with best-of-five match ties following Grand Slam events until the final round.
Many top players have skipped the event in recent years to ease their schedule.
The four 2018 semi-finalists — France, Croatia, Spain and the United States — qualify directly. Twelve more places will be decided in qualifiers on Feb 1-2 next year.
That left two spots for wildcards selected by the organisers and they have chosen Argentina and Britain.
Under the reform the finals will take place in November featuring 18 teams: 12 winners from 24-team home and away qualifying ties in February, the previous year’s four semi-finalists and two wildcard nations. Argentina and Britain have been picked as the wildcards for the 2019 edition, organisers announced Wednesday.
Round-robin groups of three will send six group winners and two runners-up into knockout round playoffs.
The finals would feature two singles matches and one doubles match each day, all cut to best-of-three sets.
The overhaul of the competition received 71.43 percent support from about 120 delegates at the International Tennis Federation annual meeting in Orlando, Florida in August, well ahead of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
But some fans are unhappy. French supporters protested against the planned changes at the Davis Cup semi-final against Spain earlier this month.
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