London, Jan. 14 (ANI): Top names in tennis are lined up in support of a radical new World Cup format being proposed by former AFL player James Hird - a concept that could signal the death of the 110-year-old Davis Cup.
The format, designed to shorten the tennis season and create a lucrative new television spectacle, would mirror football's World Cup, and has already been pitched to television executives worldwide.
The tournament would be held over a 10-day period and feature 32 nations. Sixteen would progress from the round-robin group stage into a sudden-death format.
The concept has already been floated with Tennis Australia as well as British and American tennis bodies, and a delegation from the players' council - which includes Djokovic - will meet in Melbourne during the next fortnight to push the idea to those who run the men's tour.
"We will have some talks here in Australia that will be crucial, I think, for upcoming years. I'm happy that all the top players are willing to participate in these talks and try to contribute and fight for their rights," Djokovic said yesterday.
Several top players, including world No.5 Andy Murray, are thought to be on board, and those pushing the concept will spend the weekend explaining their vision to the remainder of the playing ranks. It is considered unlikely that the event will extend to female players.
The idea has been proposed as a way of shortening the season, breathing life into a teams format hit by frequent withdrawals of top players from the Davis Cup, and wooing younger fans to the sport.
Held every two years in a different country, it would showcase a "Twenty20 style" tweaking of tennis, featuring shorter matches and less time between points. Coaches of each three-man team would also be required to substitute players during singles matches.
Asked if he knew about the plan yesterday, Djokovic answered: "Well, we proposed it."
Players have increasingly complained in recent years about a packed schedule that leaves them with as little as a fortnight's break each year.
Djokovic said he was well aware that rejigging the sport's calendar would prove difficult. (ANI)