ITF board wins control over decision on best-of-three-set matches
Tennis - 04 Aug 2017
Disappointment today turned to triumph for the International Tennis Federation after a far-reaching reform for its Davis Cup and Fed Cup national teams competitions failed to gain approval at its AGM in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, only for delegates then to vote in favour of giving the ITF board of directors the authority to make changes to the competitions on a trial basis in future without needing to seek approval from the general membership.
The ITF had wanted to introduce best-of-three set matches in place of the present best-of-five-set matches in the men’s Davis Cup, but the proposal gained only 63.5-per-cent support from member nations, short of the required two-thirds majority in the voting.
Andy Murray, the world number one, was among players to have called for matches to be shortened to increase the participation of top players.
However, a subsequent amendment enabling the board to make changes on a trial basis received “overwhelming support” at the close of the AGM, the ITF said.
It added: “The resolution was submitted for vote based on feedback from the delegates in Vietnam indicating that they have confidence in the Board members to make changes they deem necessary to enhance the ITF’s flagship team competitions.
“Previously, changes to the Davis or Fed Cup regulations could be only be made annually at the ITF AGM, with a two-thirds majority needed.”
David Haggerty, the ITF’s president (pictured), said: “This is a ground-breaking decision. The resolution gives the board the latitude and flexibility of trialling changes to Davis Cup and Fed Cup without waiting for approval of the AGM. In a fast-changing world, we need to be agile and nimble to make decisions, and this resolution gives us that ability. We thank our members for their support in the ITF Board.”
Other reforms approved by the AGM included:
• “The finalists in both Davis Cup and Fed Cup will be guaranteed the choice of hosting their first-round tie in the following year;
• “Match court availability and practice court requirements will be lower to reduce hosting costs for national associations;
• “Davis Cup pre-tie commitments for players will be reduced to a single function combining the draw, post-draw press conferences and interviews, and an official lunch.”