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13.03.2019 14:26

Revamped Fed Cup Finals could be up and running next year

A newly revamped Fed Cup Finals could be in operation by next year. The restructured competition would feature a dozen teams and could be up and running as early as April 2019.

The BBC reported that suitable venues are currently being sought and considered in Europe, the US and the Middle East. It said that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has asked for “expressions of interest” to be submitted by interested parties by the end of this week.

The Fed Cup is the most important international team competition in women’s tennis and was first held in 1963 (as the Federation Cup) to mark the 50th anniversary of the ITF. The Davis Cup, the men’s equivalent international competition, has already undergone its own structural revamp.

Eighteen teams will compete in the new-look Davis Cup for the first time in Madrid this November. The revamped competition was backed by an investment group founded by Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Piqué and has been likened to a “World Cup for tennis”. There will be $20m (£15.24m) of prize money up for grabs.

Twenty teams will have the chance to qualify

The BBC reports that 20 women’s international teams will have the chance to be involved each year, with home and away qualifiers expected to be held in February. The Finals will feature 12 teams playing in a week-long showcase.

The prize money is expected to increase, and the BBC says that it is hoped that it will rival that on offer for the Davis Cup. Piqué has previously said that he wanted to see the Fed Cup and Davis Cup combined into a single event, but it is not known at this point whether his investment group is planning to be involved in the revamped Fed Cup.

The ITF said in a statement: “The ITF is committed to enhancing the Fed Cup women’s team tennis competition.

“Nothing has been decided, but the ITF has been discussing formats with nations and players to increase the size of the Fed Cup World Group to 16 nations.

“Following the 2018 AGM, the ITF announced a 100% increase in Fed Cup prize money compensation from 2019, and stated that it was looking at making changes to Fed Cup for 2020.”

Words: Danielle Nixon

Images: PA