April 5, 2018 / 3:46 PM / 18 days ago

Tennis: France’s Pouille threatens to boycott new-look Davis Cup

(Reuters) - Frenchman Lucas Pouille threatened to boycott the Davis Cup should the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rip up the format and replace it with a one-week World Cup in a single city.

Tennis - Davis Cup - First Round Preview - France Practice Session - Halle Olympique, Albertville, France - February 2, 2018 Lucas Pouille of France during a practice session ahead of the first round match REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

Asked if he would boycott the new-look competition, Pouille, who earned France the winning point in the final against Belgium last year, said: “If the reform goes through, yes, because it would just be an exhibition. And I don’t represent France to play an exhibition.”

France play Italy in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Genoa this weekend.

The ITF, in partnership with Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique’s Kosmos investment company, plan a single city, 18-nation event to be held over seven days, starting in November 2019.

It would replace the current 16-team World Group format in which ties are played on a “home or away” basis over three weekends during the course of the year with the final in November.

“I don’t see the point in going if the tournament is played the last week of November,” said Pouille, arguing that it would hamper the players’ preparations for the following season.

The new format has, however, been endorsed by several leading players with former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic saying “99.9 percent of players will want this new system”.

The ITF’s board will vote on the new proposal in August.

Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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