We will stop seeing the Fed Cup as we were conceiving it until now.
The final that tomorrow starts in Perth (Australia's powerful Ashleigh Barty receives France) will be the last in this format. Starting next year, they will be like them. The Fed, like the Davis.
The new Fed Cup will focus on a week in April: twelve countries will fight for the title in Budapest
The format is public. And it is inspired by the new Davis Cup, which starts on November 18 at the Caja Mágica in Madrid. It's about concentrating everything in one week. A sort of women's tennis World Cup: twelve countries in a single city (in this case, Budapest), playing the title from April 14 to 19. At the moment, there are already four classified teams. The two finalists of this 2019 (Australia and France), together with Hungary (host) and the Czech Republic ( wild card ).
The Spanish must play the pass against Japan, in a clash that will occur in February. These duels will still be held under the previous format: four singles and one doubles matches. The crossings of the final phase, that of Budapest, will already incorporate the structure of the new Davis Cup: two singles and one doubles.
In those same finals, there will be four groups from three countries. The first of each group will go to the semifinals.
Somehow, the Fed Cup reform closes the debate that had opened the new Davis Cup. He comes to tell us that the transformation is a success. Despite the reluctance that a range of players had shown (and in particular, Roger Federer, absent in the Magic Box: Switzerland did not win the pass), the new Davis Cup will bring together the best tennis players in the world.
In recent years, both the Davis and the Fed Cup had become an old-fashioned contraption. They appeared messily on the calendar of the ATP and WTA circuits. They caused dysfunctions in the cycles of the players, who lamented it. They were seen playing on the ground in Monte Carlo, to jump to the fast surface in Minsk a week later, before returning to the land, for example in Paris. The lag threw them back. Saturated and bewildered, many chose to give up the commitment to their country. The captains were in a clash: there was no way to set up a team with a face and eyes.
The same was happening in the female circuit.
The drift of the Fed Cup depended on the spirit of the players with more weight. If any of them resigned, the expectations of a country plummeted. All this was against the tournament, which was diluted in the calendar, victim of whims.
Perth will mark the close of the season for Ashleigh Barty, the revelation of the year.
In this 2019, Barty has been awarded Roland Garros and the Women's Masters Cup, and has risen to number 1 of the WTA circuit: that's where the course will end, whatever happens in Perth. It is the first Australian who has achieved the latter.