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Andy Murray welcomes Davis Cup revamp but ‘not sold’ on venue plans

Great Britain's Andy Murray with the Davis Cup

Great Britain’s Andy Murray attending the Davis Cup Trophy Tour at Stirling University on Monday

World number two Andy Murray says he is “not sold” on plans to let cities bid to stage the Davis and Fed Cup finals.

A revamp of the team tennis events has been put forward by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Britain’s Murray welcomed ITF proposals to shorten Davis Cup matches from best-of-five sets to best-of-three and stage finals over two days instead of three.

But he added: “The home and away aspect of the Davis Cup is something I enjoy and makes it different and special.”

Other proposals include doubling the Fed Cup World Group to 16 teams to match the men’s event.

“This is part of our mission to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide,” ITF president David Haggerty said.

The Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals are currently held in a city selected by one of the finalists, based on the draw.

“By having a full year or two to plan we can do more for sponsors and fans with a stadium that’s an appropriate size,” said Haggerty, who envisages the winning bid staging both finals for two to three years.

A bidding process for national associations and cities interested in hosting the finals will begin in December 2016 with the decision on successful bids expected to be made in the summer of 2017.

However, Murray, 29, said: “With the neutral venue, I am not sold on that. I do love the home and away atmosphere that we get in the Davis Cup just now.

“It is something that we as tennis players aren’t really used to because when we travel around the world we are playing in neutral venues a lot of the time.”

The other Davis and Fed Cup proposals must be approved by the ITF’s annual general meeting next year, with the changes potentially introduced in 2018.

Under discussion will be a plan to have a “final four” format for the women’s Fed Cup competition with the semi-finals and final held in the same week.

In the Davis Cup, Argentina will travel to Croatia for this year’s final in November, having beaten defending champions Great Britain last weekend.

One match took five hours and seven minutes as Argentine Juan Martin del Potro beat Murray in five sets.

On shortening the men’s team event, Olympic champion Murray said: “For me personally the last three days, coming off the back of the Olympics, Cincinnati, the US Open and then being on court for 10 or 11 hours over three days, was really hard.

“A lot of the players have spoken about that, about potentially shortening the format, maybe playing it over Saturday and Sunday, best of three sets, I like that idea. If it doesn’t work you can always change back as well.

“Trying something new would give the event a lift for sure in terms of the participation of the top players,” the Scot added.

Great Britain, whose 2015 Davis Cup triumph was their first in 79 years, will find out in Thursday’s draw which nation they will face in the 2017 first round in February.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/37427007