WASHINGTON – The International Tennis Federation must have been pretty sure it had the two-thirds majority it needed to pass all of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup reforms it wanted to push through.
But someone didn’t get the memo.
The resolution about changing the century-old format from best-of-five sets to best-of-three sets for singles – a proposal that met with fairly vociferous opposition from the public – didn’t get the votes required.
And so, the format will remain status quo.
It was close,. The motion got 63.54 per cent of the votes. But that’s just short of the 66.67 per cent needed.
ITF President David Haggerty’s statement, (which included the appropriate mention of the sponsor name), expressed his displeasure.
“We respect the decision of the AGM but are disappointed that our member nations have not approved the full package of Davis Cup and Fed Cup reforms endorsed by the ITF Board. Change is needed to ensure the long-term future of these iconic and historic competitions, and we remain committed to working with our national associations and other stakeholders on finding ways to enhance Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.”
In other words, “Who’s the John McCain among the ITF member nations and how could they do this?”
Minor changes approved
The ITF held its annual general meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and the vote took place on Friday.
The member nations did approve a couple of proposals with the required two-thirds majority.
The first is that the finalists in both the Davis Cup and Fed Cup will be assured of hosting their first-round ties the following year.
The second is that the criteria for the availability of the match court and practice courts will be lowered. That’s a move the ITF thinks will reduce the cost to the national federations of hosting a tie.
The member nations also approved reducing the commitments for the players in the week leading up to the weekend tie. There were often daily availabilities, and those availabilities did help keep the event in the public eye in the days leading up to it. That was a plus in markets where the events didn’t immediately sell out.
Now, the player commitment will be down to one event that will include the draw, and press conferences and interviews after the draw. Plus one official lunch.
That sounds like the official Davis Cup dinner is a thing of the past. There’s no way of knowing if they think this type of decision will in any way affect the decisions of the top players to play. Because it’s unlikely to.