Could the Davis Cup Be Modified Again in the Future?

Spain's King Juan Carlos celebrates with Spain's captain Albert Costa, players Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer after their Davis Cup victory in 2011.
Spain's King Juan Carlos celebrates with Spain's captain Albert Costa, players Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer after their Davis Cup victory in 2011. (Getty Images)

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The Davis Cup in tennis is an annual international event that has taken place since 1900. There has obviously been a lot of changes in that period, arguably one of the biggest coming in 2019, when the format changed significantly.

Rather than across the calendar year, the World Group is now played as a single tournament across one week. 18 teams start the round-robin stage and then the knockout stages begin at the quarter-final stage.

The move by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was done to reduce travelling and to make the Davis Cup more exciting for those who tune in to watch.

Lessons Can Be Learnt from Horse Racing

One of the new competitions to take place in horse racing is the Racing League. Seven teams go head to head across six race meetings, with points on offer in each of those races.

As you will find from the , the best jockeys and trainers take part in this tournament which makes it more exciting for those involved. These meetings are also spread out across the country, with some taking place at Newcastle, Doncaster, Southwell and Lingfield. This allows for more people to attend a Racing League meeting and feel involved.

Horse racing has been trying to find the right model for a new team event in their sport for some time and they are hoping the Racing League delivers. They assign each of the teams a captain. These are a mixture of celebrities, personalities in the sport and broadcasters.

Tennis could try something similar and also use big names outside of the sport to promote it. Hopefully this would then appeal to a new audience. Rather than each team having players by country, there could be a draft system to make them as equally talented as possible.

Cricket was the latest sport to create an exciting new competition in 2021 when they launched the Hundred. The organisers were not afraid to make changes to the rules and it paid off.

Biggest Names Need to Be Involved

What is very important for the Davis Cup if it is to continue to succeed, is that the biggest names in the world need to be involved. Due to a very hectic schedule, the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have not always been available for selection.

Having the World Group across a single week has helped. The majority of the big names featured in 2021 when Russia defeated Croatia in the final. Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are second and fifth respectively in the ITF rankings and they played a huge role in Russia’s first Davis Cup success since 2006.

Representing their country is obviously a great honour for these players. As you see at the Olympics, winning a gold medal is just as important as lifting a Grand Slam trophy. If the ITF ensures Davis Cup if played at a quieter point on the tennis calendar, the best players should continue to support the event.

The 2022 Davis Cup tournament begins on 4th March, with the World Group Finals scheduled to take place across November and December.