Novak Djokovic backs proposed Davis Cup overhaul

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves the ball to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their semi-final tennis match in the Qatar Open tournament on January 8, 2016, in Doha. World number one Djokovic won the match 6-3, 7-6 (7/3). AFP PHOTO / KARIM JAAFAR / AFP / KARIM JAAFAR (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic was thrilled to hear that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) are proposing an overhaul of the Davis Cup format although the world No. 1 says he favours a “World Championship-like” tournament rather than the “final four” idea suggested.

In an interview published in the latest edition of ITFWorld magazine, David Haggerty, the president of the world governing body of the sport, discussed plans to revolutionise both Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions in order to increase their appeal for spectators and ensure top players’ commitment.

Haggerty says the home-and-away ties would work for the earlier rounds but suggested the semi-finals and final be played in a single week at a neutral venue at the end of the season.

Djokovic, a Davis Cup champion in 2010, only played one tie for Serbia last year, and feels the international team competition is in desperate need for an overhaul.

“I was talking about that format for years. I think the format has to change, there is no doubt,” Djokovic said in Doha. “In the last five, 10 years, you haven’t had many top players playing Davis Cup throughout the entire year because it’s a terrible schedule.”

The world No. 1 is aware that a neutral location rather than a home final would deny many federations the income they would generate from hosting the event but Djokovic believes there is also a solution for that.

“I think that the format of a World Tennis Championship is attracting me more. I think there should be group stages, four groups of four played, and then you play final four in a neutral place,” suggested Djokovic.

“Of course the downside is that the federations will complain saying, many federations get their main income from the Davis Cup ties played at home.

“But you can create such financial structure where you create a different format that would attract more attention, that would generate more revenue, then you can share that revenue of course distributed equally to the federations so everybody is satisfied.”

Earlier in the week, Djokovic confirmed he is playing the first round of Davis Cup this season but is unsure whether he’ll play more ties should Serbia advance.

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