LONDON: Four cities – Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Malaga – will host the group stage for this year’s Davis Cup Finals as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed another tweak to the format of its historic team event.
The 2022 Finals will see 16 nations compete in groups based in each of the four cities from Sept 14-18 with eight teams going forward to the finals from Nov 23-27 in a fifth city which is yet to be announced.
Twelve winning nations from the qualifiers held earlier this month will join Croatia, who get an automatic place as last year’s finalists, and wild cards Serbia and Britain.
The Russians will not be able to defend their title after the ITF suspended the memberships of Russia and Belarus and withdrew their entries from team competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.
The ITF said the replacement wild card spot has been awarded to Canada, who lost 4-0 to the Netherlands in the qualifiers.
The draw for the group stage, which will be played from Sep 14-18, is scheduled to be held in London on Mar 31.
Last year’s Davis Cup Finals featured 18 teams and was held in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck with the final in Madrid.
The event, started in 1900, was controversially revamped from its traditional ‘home and away tie’ format in 2019 with an 18-nation Finals taking place in Madrid after the ITF did a lucrative deal with Spanish investment group Kosmos.
ITF President David Haggerty said the new format would help retain “traditional elements” of the competition and bring the action to more audiences.
Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association said it had agreed a five-year deal for hosting the group phase and that it would be taken around the country.
Glasgow will become the first British venue to host a Davis Cup tie since 2018.
“This is brilliant news for British tennis fans and we are thrilled to be bringing the excitement of the Davis Cup back home in 2022,” LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said.
“We are keen to bring other events to this country and remain in the running to host the Billie Jean King Cup finals later this year.”