U.S. bllionaire Larry Ellison hopes Indian Wells would host revamped Davis Cup


American billionaire Larry Ellison has thrown his weight behind the International Tennis Federation’s planned revamp of the Davis Cup and says Indian Wells could stage the event.

The ITF announced this year that it had sealed a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos to transform the 118-year-old Davis Cup men’s team event into an 18-team, one-week season finale.

Ellison, who according to Forbes is worth $58.5 billion, is now financially committed to the so-called World Cup of Tennis.

“I am very excited about the new format that the ITF and KOSMOS have developed for Davis Cup and am in full support of the plans that have been outlined for this historic competition,” Ellison said in a statement published on the Desert Sun website.

“I readily embrace innovative ideas and opportunities which is why I am not only lending my written support, but will also become an investor in this competition.

“In addition, I am thrilled that the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is being considered to host 18 National teams and their associations in the new Davis Cup Finals event in 2021.”

A two-thirds majority at the ITF annual general meeting on Aug. 16 will be required for final approval of the proposal. If approved, the tournament would be due to start in November 2019.

The support of Ellison is a boost for the ITF, which was criticised by Tennis Australia over the weekend for a lack of transparency over its plans — a criticism it rejects.

The ITF’s shake-up of the Davis Cup has also been undermined after the men’s governing body, the ATP, announced plans to introduce a rival 24-team World Team Cup, offering $15 million in prize money plus ranking points, into the calendar to be played in Australia from early 2020.

Ellison purchased the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in 2010. The venue, based near Palm Springs, California, includes the 16,100-seater Stadium 1 court, which is the second largest tennis-specific arena in the world.

Kosmos was founded by Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique, who welcomed Ellison’s investment.

“I personally want to publicly welcome Mr Ellison to this project,” Pique said on Twitter.

“We are pleased and proud to have him financially backing our commitment for boosting and reinforcing the Davis Cup.”

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