Davis Cup gets Ellison backing as federations communicate concerns

by: Kamakshi Tandon | August 07, 2018

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WATCH—Tough Call - Is the ITF going too far with Davis Cup changes? 

The missives keep flying on Davis Cup reform as a vote approaches on huge changes to the team competition.

The investor group Kosmos, which has offered the ITF more than $120 million annually to transform it into a one-week, 18-nation event at a single location, has announced that Oracle owner and billionaire Larry Ellison has joined them in backing the project.

Ellison, who also owns the BNP Paribas Open, said in a statement that he was "in full support of the plans" and would not just be "lending my written support, but will also become an investor in this competition."

He also said that the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which holds the BNP Paribas Open, was being considered as a future location for the event. 

"The agreement reassures the sustainability and ambition of our engagement together with the ITF," said Gerard Pique, the Spanish soccer player who began Kosmos.

The announcement follows the recent letters sent by Tennis Australia and the president of Tennis Europe, a group consisting of 50 European federations, stating their opposition to the reforms before the meeting next week in Orlando, Florida. 

Both questioned the financial guarantees behind the agreement with Kosmos, along with whether the changes would get player backing and participation. The ATP tour recently announced that it would be restarting the World Team Cup, with the involvement of Tennis Australia, which would be similar to a revamped Davis Cup. Both also complained of frequent and ongoing changes to the plans.

A lack of other details, including the distribution of funds to players and federations and relationship with the ATP, was among the issues also cited by Tennis Australia and the president of Tennis Europe.

Members of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) have received a communication from their constitution committee indicating that such details have not yet been finalized.

"The BOD of the ITF is still looking for clarity," said the letter, "on the financials, ... legal contract, and the impact of the ATP and players's decision not to support the ITF Davis Cup" revamped event.

The ATF committee also recommended, like Tennis Europe, that federations vote against loosening the requirement that ITF Board members step down if convicted of a criminal offence. If the resolution is not approved, it would prompt the removal of French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli, who has backed the Davis Cup reforms and whose votes could be significant in whether the changes are approved.

The Davis Cup reforms will need to receive two-thirds of the votes from member federations at the ITF meeting. The ITF has not announced any further changes.

ATP Toronto
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.

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