The International Tennis Federation has defended its Davis Cup competition following a proposal by leading men's players for a World Cup-style tournament.
“This proposal, also shown to the ITF, has some interesting elements and, of course, timely branding, given the current worldwide fascination with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It also has many challenges that must be faced if it is to succeed,” the ITF said.
“Everyone is in agreement that a nation vs nation format is very attractive, something Davis Cup has recognised for over a century, and only time will tell if a new competition can earn a regular place in the tennis calendar.”
The Davis Cup has been in existence for 110 years and pits countries against each other over several weekends during the tennis season. Many top players skip Davis Cup weekends to take time off during the packed tennis calendar.
The World Cup would likely be a 10-day biennial tournament played at a single venue.
The Davis Cup has weathered other major changes in the game, including the move to professionalism in 1968 and the advent of the men's ATP tour.
“While Davis Cup has evolved and modernised over the years, it has not lost its intrinsic values based around the home-and-away format that attracts great support from fans, sponsors, television and the players themselves who enjoy playing in front of their home country fans,” the ITF said.
The ITF also noted that it has a five-year contract with the ATP World Tour “guaranteeing dates and ranking points.” The idea has been shown to organisers of three of the four tennis Grand Slam events.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told The Times he thought the concept was innovative and would help grow participation in the sport.