The Davis Cup is getting a radical makeover in hopes of reviving an event that has lost luster.

Beginning next year, the top team event in men’s tennis will be decided with a season-ending, 18-team tournament at a neutral site.

The International Tennis Federation believes this format will be more attractive to elite players who often pass on competing for their countries because of a crowded schedule.

Teams will play one week in February to advance to the championship in November, replacing the current Davis Cup format played over four weekends through the year. Players will compete for what the ITF said rivals Grand Slam money.

The $3 billion, 25-year agreement was approved Thursday at the organization’s conference in Orlando, Florida. Two-thirds of the delegates needed to vote for the reforms and 71 percent did.

Beginning in 2019, 24 nations will compete in a home-or-away qualifying round in February, with the 12 winners advancing to the final tournament. They will be joined by the four semifinalists from the previous year and two wild-card teams, who need to be in the top 50 of the Davis Cup rankings or have a top-10 singles player to be eligible.

The finalists will be in six three-team groups for round-robin play, involving two singles matches and one doubles, all best-of-three-sets – instead of the current best-of-five format with four singles matches and one doubles. The winners, with the next two teams with the best records, will be in the single-elimination quarterfinals.

The first finals will be held on an indoor hardcourt from Nov. 18-24, 2019, in Madrid or Lille, France. That announcement is expected within two weeks.

The original plan called for simply an 18-team championship at the end of the year, but was amended after some nations objected to the loss of home-site matches. So those were added to the proposal as the qualifying round, though that still wasn’t enough for critics of the plan who felt neutral-site matches were too much of a change for an event that dates to 1900.


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