The Russian Tennis Federation won last season's Davis Cup Finals after beating Croatia ©Getty Images

The group stage of the Davis Cup Finals is to be moved to earlier in the men's tennis season, while competition is set to be spread across four host cities.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Kosmos Tennis announced changes to the tournament following feedback from players and captains, who said they were keen to avoid such a late finish to the tennis season, which last year concluded on December 5, with the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) defeating Italy.

The group stage of the tournament is now due to be held between September 14 and 18, across four host cities, rather than three as previously was the case.

Organisers will hope the expansion to four host cities, with one group set to be based in each, can avoid some of the late finishes seen previously, such as in 2019 when a tie between the United States and Italy, played in Spain, did not finish until just after 4am local time.

The quarter-finals onwards are set to take place from November 23 to 27, at a venue yet to be announced.

"We are committed to maintaining the traditional elements and atmosphere that make the Davis Cup so unique," said ITF President David Haggerty.

The Davis Cup Finals group stage is set to be played across four cities rather than three this year ©Getty Images
The Davis Cup Finals group stage is set to be played across four cities rather than three this year ©Getty Images

"At the same time, we’re aware we also need to remain flexible to the needs of nations, players, fans and the game as a whole.

"We are proud of what we have achieved with the initial changes made to the Davis Cup Finals over the last few years and are committed to the ongoing development of the competition for the benefit of all involved."

Tournament director Albert Costa added: "Players and captains were clear that they like the changes to the format so far, but want to avoid the late finish to the season.

"The decision to move the group stage to September addresses this, while at the same time continuing the multi-city format of the group stage, and adding a fourth city, ensures even more fans across the world can enjoy the unique Davis Cup atmosphere and support their teams live."

Sixteen teams, split into four groups of four, are scheduled to take part in the Davis Cup Finals.

A bidding process is underway to host group-stage matches, with the successful cities set to be announced next month.

Only last year’s finalists the RTF and Italy, plus wildcards Serbia and Britain, have secured their group-stage berths, with the remaining teams set to be decided at qualifiers on March 4 and 5.