Davis Cup overhauls format with season-ending team event

NEW YORK -- The Davis Cup will be decided with a season-ending, 18-team tournament beginning next year.

The changes were approved Thursday after a vote at the International Tennis Federation conference in Orlando, Florida. A two-thirds majority from the 140 nations represented at the meeting was needed.

Beginning in 2019, 24 nations will compete in a home-or-away qualifying round in February, with the 12 winners advancing to the final tournament. They will be joined by the four semifinalists from the previous year, along with two wild-card teams.

"We are very pleased the ITF member nations voted to approve the Davis Cup proposal," the USTA said in a statement. "The new format will project Davis Cup into the 21st century and elevate tennis' premiere annual team competition to the heights it deserves."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.