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Djokovic backs Davis Cup reforms

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, shown here speaking to reporters after defeating Canada’s Peter Polansky in the 2nd round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto — back Davis Cup reform © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / Vaughn Ridley

TORONTO, Canada, Aug 9Reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic says he is in favour of a bid to turn the Davis Cup tournament into a season-ending Grand Slam-level showdown, as it would ease scheduling woes for the players.

Currently, the Davis Cup is structured around a 16-nation World Group, contested over four weekends during the year. The remaining countries are then divided into three regional zones.

The International Tennis Federation’s controversial revamp would see the Davis Cup morph into a World Cup of Tennis final featuring 18 countries — and address complaints that the heavy time commitment drives away the top players.

The proposal must win approval at the federation’s annual general meeting in Orlando, Florida later this month.

Djokovic, a Davis Cup champion for Serbia in 2010, gave his thumbs up.

“I think that format needs to be changed. And I’m all in favour of that,” Djokovic said after beating Peter Polansky, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round of the ATP Toronto Masters on Wednesday.

“You play one year, and then the next year you don’t play. It’s just the scheduling of this kind of format so far has been pretty bad.”

The ITF has said the revamp would bring benefits across the tennis world in the form in increased prize money and more top players taking part.

It would also raise the hosting standards of the Davis Cup to a Grand Slam level, ITF chief David Haggerty told AFP.

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Madrid and Lille are “the two leading cities” to host the first edition of the revamped Davis Cup in November 2019, Haggerty said.

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