Mag By Craig Gabriel
ATP CUP LAUNCHED ON SYDNEY HARBOUR
The dust is starting to clear a bit more, or as it was the case in Sydney the drizzle was starting to subside as the ATP Tour and Tennis Australia provided further information on the resurrection of the ATP Cup (formerly World Team Cup) to be played in Australia from 2020. Next January the event will be staged from the 3rd to 12th January.
It was certainly a glorious setting for the announcement, the top deck of the Carnival Spirit cruise ship which was docked in Sydney – the famed icons the Harbour Bridge in the background and the Opera House to the right, but the city did not provide any favours with the weather till much later.
With government ministers on hand and in front of players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios, Lucas Pouille, Diego Schwartzman, Milos Raonic and Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley and ATP Tour boss Chris Kermode provided a fair amount of detail and confirmation about the new event. However, there is still more information to go and that will be drip (no pun on the weather) fed in the next couple of weeks.
They confirmed the worst kept secret that Brisbane and Sydney will be two of the three cities to host the ATP Cup. Brisbane and the yet to be named city will host six days of round robin ties and Sydney will host four days of the final’s series. Australia’s more famous city will have the finals for three years.
“We made a commitment to all cities in the country that our aim was to have more tennis for longer and better content,” Mr. Tiley said. “The beauty of what we have in Australia is an insatiable appetite to host. It brings tourism and these events will be a global focus and will be broadcast globally.”
The tourism minister said this will attract visitors and believes it will be worth in the vicinity of $37 million to the economy.
Mr. Tiley said that this concept is going to be incredible for tennis in Australia and will be a multi-million dollar investment in the sport and facilities. Already over $50 million has been committed to the much-needed upgrading to the tennis centre that was built for the Sydney Olympics which has not been altered since. It will get a roof this year.
“This is a large significant event to start the year; a global teams event with the best players in the world and that’s why Chris Kermode said there were many places competing to host it,” Mr. Tiley added.
“Look, change is always a challenge, but we see very clearly, the vision and opportunity and the players have communicated that. Every single player is excited. This is their team championship on the tour and we are licencing to run it. We are going to be in for a very good run to start the year.”
The tournament will carry 750 ranking points for the winners and $22 million in total prize money. It will be the biggest event after the four majors.
Cities will be guaranteed a certain number of top players. Entry will work on rankings with the cut-off after the US Open and if you take the top 24 and three cities, those cities will have eight of those top players which is more than they have now.
There is a question hanging over the women’s side of things; Brisbane and Sydney have women’s events. Mr. Tiley made an assurance those will not be lost but when asked if they could move from their present locations, he said “absolutely”.
There is also the question over the Hopman Cup in Perth and if it will definitely end as is the unofficial feeling. More to come in the next few weeks.