ITF and Kosmos to end Davis Cup tennis partnership

The International Tennis Federation said Thursday that it is ending its partnership with the Kosmos group to organise the Davis Cup, just five years after a deal worth $3 billion was signed.

"The ITF can confirm that its partnership with Kosmos Tennis for Davis Cup is ending in its fifth year," a spokeswoman told AFP.

A 25-year deal was signed with Kosmos, which is owned by Spanish football star Gerard Pique, in 2018 but the revamped tournament has attracted widespread criticism over its format.

"The ITF has ensured financial contingencies are in place and as the custodian of the competition we will operate the 2023 Qualifiers and Finals as scheduled, with the Final 8 taking place in Malaga, Spain, this November," added the spokeswoman.

"The ITF negotiated a strong deal for tennis in 2018. The partnership increased participation, prize money and interest in Davis Cup and produced funding to support the global development of our sport."

The 2019 Davis Cup finals were the first in a single-city format, ending a long tradition of home and away ties.

The new format was widely criticised, including over low attendances and late finishes, and was rejigged in 2021 to include three cities.

Several top players have skipped the Davis Cup in recent years.

Rafael Nadal helped Spain win on home soil in the inaugural new-look Davis Cup Finals in 2019, but has not featured in the tournament since.

Australia's Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, a former world number one who played in his country's 1999 and 2003 triumphs, has been one of the biggest critics of the modern format.

"I haven't been a supporter since they first flagged the possible changes," Hewitt said when the rebooted Davis Cup was launched in 2019.

"I think having the finals in one place is ridiculous. I personally don't think all the top players will play.

"Now we're being run by a Spanish football player... that's like me coming out asking to change things for the Champions League -- it's ridiculous."

Davis Cup was added to the ATP circuit for the first time last year.

"As well as being focused on delivering another spectacular edition of the men's World Cup of Tennis, we are focused on the future growth of the largest annual international team competition in sport," added the ITF spokeswoman.