One country. Three cities. Ten days. 24 nations. 1 world champion. The ATP and Tennis Australia launch the new ATP Cup during the ATP Finals in London. The new event, which has received widespread speculation in recent times, will be staged in Australia from January 2020. It brings to four, the number of team events involving the men players, that are expected to be staged through the year.
There is the original world team event the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, the Hopman Cup that has been staged for about 30 years and the new Laver Cup, which Tennis Australia also has a financial interest in, and now the ATP Cup. There is the highly likely chance that the Hopman Cup will disappear from the calendar but a new mixed teams event could be in the pipeline through the ITF.
ATP CEO Chris Kermode said the whole concept of the ATP Cup has been in the R&D stage for over four years and now it is finally here. He said the question of how the men’s game should grow and develop had been fundamental in the creation of the ATP Cup. Men’s tennis used to have an event in Dusseldorf many years ago called the World Team Cup and in one sense this is a metamorphosis of that but bigger and better.
“This is a fresh new team event – vibrant and different and it will start the season with a bang and then sustain that level throughout the year till the season-ending event, the ATP Finals, happen in November,” Mr. Kermode said. “We will book-end the calendar. There will be 24 teams/nations and qualifying will be based on the highest player a nation.
“There will be six group with four nations in a round robin format that will include two singles and one doubles with each tie.
“There will be 750 ranking points on offer with $15million in prize money and there is the potential for 100 players in the event. Starting the season in an impactful manner makes sense for Australia’s sporting culture and Tennis Australia are great partners.”
CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley said he was “totally pumped” with this new fresh start with another global event. He said: “It is going to be special. It has the support of the players and it is going to be a fantastic to launch the season this way and make it special for the players and fans.
“This is another opportunity for tennis to keep the sport fresh. We at Tennis Australia believe is doing events big and properly. There is a big incentive to put this in a global stage.
The three cities in Australia have not been announced, this is a month away still but as Mr. Tiley said there is bidding going one between some of the capital cities. No doubt there will be changes to the calendar at that time of the year with the admission that some events will fold, and others will shift in dates. They said Doha will stay as is, but Pune will move to after the Australian Open and probably Brisbane and Sydney mens will drop out.
There is a feeling that Perth and Brisbane could be the cities that will get the round robin events and Sydney gets the finals.
The aspect of ranking points is huge with this event. John Isner referred to it as “our currency”.
“It’s a greater opportunity for players and fans, it’s a fresh look and creates interest on a global stage,” Mr. Tiley added. “Many sports have numerous team events and I think there is room for all.”
That was a sentiment concurred by Mr. Kermode but just the day before Novak Djokovic, President of the Player Council, had said that he feels there is not the space for the new look Davis Cup as well as the ATP Cup. In the video at the launch Mr. Djokovic’s comment was the ATP Cup will “bring together a lot of nations”.
What shakes down remains to be seen and maybe there will be a change after a couple of years. Could it be a case of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”?