Ahead of Thursday’s historic vote on radical Davis Cup reforms on the floor of the ITF General Assembly in Orlando, Florida, member nations of the Asian Tennis Federation held a meeting on Tuesday to weigh up the implications of a complete overhaul of an event that is one of the oldest team competitions in the world, going back nearly 118 years.
According to Tennis Cambodia representative Phalkun Mam, the open debate, chaired by ATF president Anil Khanna, who is also vice president of the ITF, saw concerns raised by several member nations over the 25-year contract with prospective sponsors Kosmos as being too long.
There were also voices of dissent over the 160-page licensing agreement being prepared, with fears it would be short on enough actual details to help make worthy assessments.
Also figuring prominently among concerns of negative impacts the reforms could trigger, were doubts expressed by members over the prompt delivery of the $120 million promised by the sponsors every year, with some representatives even seeking proof of bank guarantees for the finance promised.
If the reforms pass muster, the ITF will conclude a licensing deal with Kosmos, who have pledged $120 million dollars each year for the next 25 years, with the sponsorship funding prize money for Davis Cup without excluding any zone or group.
Key performance indicators
In addition to the Davis Cup finals, which will turn into an 18-team affair to start with pool play and take place over the course of one week, the ITF will also introduce two new events to be named as the Majesty Cup and Nations Cup.
In response to the fears expressed by the Asian tennis community, ITF President David Haggerty, who was also present at the regional meeting, did his best to make the members put aside their concerns over the new reforms.
The ITF chief assured the meeting that $82 million of the $120 million was already confirmed if the reforms were to pass, while admitting that suspicion over Kosmos’s ability to fulfil it’s commitment was also under scrutiny,
But Kelly Fairweather of the ITF communications wing informed the nations that due diligence had been conducted by an outside organisation on Kosmos, and the aspiring sponsors had passed scrutiny.
Also to comfort the nations about the unusually long contract, a yearly review would be conducted taking into account certain key performance indicators, such as participation of top players and spectator turnout. If the new changes receive two years of consecutively unsuccessful reviews, the contract can be terminated.