Hot on the heels of the recent mega-money makeover of the 118 year old Davis Cup competition there are  strong  rumours that a re-vamped, week long 12 team version of the Women’s equivalent, The Federation Cup, which began relatively recently in 1963, could follow in the men’s footsteps as soon as April 2020.

The International Tennis Federation have asked for “expressions of interest” to host the event by the end of this week.

Likely candidates are East Coast USA, the tennis thirsty Middle East as well as several European tennis hotspots.

This year’s World Group edition reaches it’s semi finals stage next month when France will entertain Romania in Rouen and Belarus will make the long trip to the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane to take on Australia. The Final is scheduled for 9-10 November 2019.

Australia celebrate victory over US to reach semi finals (l to r) Captain Alicia Molik (AUS), Kimberly Birrell (AUS), Astra Sharma (AUS), Daria Gavrilova (AUS), Priscilla Hon (AUS) and Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
                     Australia celebrate victory over USA in February 2019. (l to r) Captain Alicia Molik (AUS), Kimberly Birrell (AUS), Astra Sharma                                                                                              Daria Gavrilova (AUS), Priscilla Hon (AUS) and Ashleigh Barty (AUS)

The ex-Barcelona FC player turned investment group Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has taken a US$3 billion punt on the event on a twenty-five year plan. The first edition featuring eighteen countries will take place in Madrid at the Caja Majica in Madrid in November this year where the title and US$20 million will be up for grabs.

                      Gerard Pique in his Barcelona FC days  seen here beating Real Madrid in the Champions League Semi Final 2nd leg  in 2011                                                                                Photo  Roger Parker  International Sports Fotos Ltd

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has told the BBC that the current slow pace of the Fed Cup reforms where two groups of eight teams vie for promotion from zonal leagues to the World Group has frustrated team captains, players and supporters alike.


                          Martina Navratilova presents French Open trophy in  2006                   Photo Tim Parker Fotosports International/ISF Ltd

Under the proposed new plan eight home and away qualification ties are expected to take place in February 2020 meaning 20 teams will have the chance to be involved each year.

Following the 2018 AGM, the ITF announced a 100% increase in Fed Cup prize money from 2019, and stated that it was looking at making changes to Fed Cup for 2020.”

It is expected that there will be equal funding for the Women’s version to parallel that received by the men.

Last month, Gerard Pique speculated that the Davis Cup and Fed Cup could “become a combined event in the near future” but it is not yet known whether his Kosmos group wish to be involved in the ITF’s plans for 2020.

Under the existing rules, Great Britain are tantalisingly just one victory away from a return to the World Group for the first time since 1993 and that would happen if they can beat Kazakhstan in a home tie at London’s Copper Box Arena next month.