Team Croatia celebrate with the trophy after winning the Davis Cup REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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The Davis Cup starts a new era this weekend as the revamped team competition kicks off with 12 qualifying-round ties spread across the globe to decide which nations progress to November's finals week in Madrid. The International Tennis Federation believe the new structure, which will culminate with 18 nations battling it out in the Spanish capital as a climax to the season, will breathe new life into an event first held in 1900 .While the popular home-away format is retained for the qualifiers, the ties have been shortened to two days with two singles Friday and a doubles plus two singles Saturday.This weekend's matches will be the last chance for teams to play in front of a partisan home crowd, apart from Spain who are hosting the Nov. 18-24 finals.The ITF signed a 25-year $3 billion deal with Kosmos, with the changes being voted in last August.
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