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Fed Cup set for 2020 revamp

Leye Aduloju in News 13 Mar 2019
  • The Fed Cup could undergo significant reforms from the 2020 season
  • Reports say the competition is set to follow the direction of the Davis Cup, with a 12-team Finals to be staged in April 2020
The Czech Republic have dominated the Fed Cup in recent years. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

The Fed Cup could undergo significant reforms as early as the 2020 season, with the revamped format set to feature a 12-team Finals.

According to a report on the BBC, the International Tennis Federation, the ITF, has asked potential hosts for 'expressions of interest' before the end of this week, with venues in Europe, the Middle East and on the east coast of the United States said to be fancied.

The revamped format is set to feature eight home and away qualification ties in February, with the qualifiers joining the two nations from the previous year’s final, and two wildcard entrants in the Finals in April 2020. 

Under its current format, the Fed Cup comprises three main tiers- the World Group, the World Group II and the Zone Groups, with teams from lower levels competing to gain promotion to higher groups, and the least performing nations relegated on a yearly basis. The World Group has eight nations, initially drawn into four one-legged knock out ties, with the winners of each tie advancing to the semi-finals.

Simona Halep played a pivotal role as Romania stunned the Czech Republic to reach the 2019 Fed Cup semi-finals. (Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
The 2019 Fed Cup semi-finals will be held from 20-21 April, with France hosting Romania, and Belarus visiting Australia.

Should the Fed Cup adopt the reported new format, it will take a similar direction to the men's team event, the Davis Cup, which will debut its own new system from 18-24 November in Madrid. The Davis Cup held its qualifying rounds in February, with twelve teams advancing to the 18-team Finals, joining the four semi-finalists from last season, and two wildcard nations, Argentina and Great Britain. The 18 participating nations have been drawn into six groups of three, with the six group winners and the two best second-placed teams advancing to the knockout rounds.

The Davis Cup revamp has been met with plenty of controversy, with some of the world's top players in the world either ruling themselves out completely, or suggesting that they will not feature in the event.

The revamp is being fueled by the investment group, Kosmos, owned by Barcelona and Spanish footballer, Gerard Pique, who have agreed a $3-billion 25-year partnership with the ITF. 

In a bid to improve the Fed Cup, the largest annual international team competition in women's sport, the ITF has doubled the prize money in the World Group for the 2019 season, and is hopeful of attracting equal prize money with the revamped Davis Cup for the new Fed Cup Finals in 2020.

It is unclear whether Kosmos will fund the Fed Cup, although Pique suggested in an interview that both the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup could become a joint event in the near future.


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