Brisbane and Sydney to host ATP Cup
The ATP has launched its counter-attack in response to the rival Davis Cup with Brisbane and Sydney announced as two of the three venues needed for the new ATP Cup competition set for January, 2020.
The venues are conveniently the same cities whose joint ATP-WTA events are due to be jettisoned as the men’s sanctioning body and ITF go to war over control of future tennis calendars.
Brisbane is short-listed for preliminaries while Sydney is due to host the final of what will be a pre-Australian Open series.
The entire initiative comes in response to the ITF plan to put the newly condensed Davis Cup in the hands of an untested Spanish management company headed by a footballer in exchange for a promised payday of $3 billion over 25 years.
Top players including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have indicated their uneasiness – and intention not to play – with the Davis Cup re-write while Rafael Nadal is all-in with his Spanish compatriots.
The ATP, displeased with the November date of what will be an all-in-one Davis Cup (down to one week from four weeks previously during the season) decided to dominate the run-up to the Australian Open with it’s new 10-day event from 2020.
ATP and their Tennis Australia partner made their choices of Brisbane and Sydney public a week before the start of this year’s Open, with one more city set to be revealed.
Perth could be particularly hard-hit, with its iconic Hopman Cup mixed team – won for the last two years by Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic for Switzerland – fighting for life in the wave of the ATP scheduling tsunami.
Federer and others including fourth-ranked finalist Alexander Zverev did all they could last week to voice support for Perth, which has embraced the Hopman concept for more than three decades.
Meanwhile, the ATP juggarnaut ploughs ahead:
“With more than 100 players from 24 nations vying for $22 million in prize money and 750 ATP ranking points, the ATP Cup will help us launch the global tennis season every January in Australia,” Tenis Australia boss Craig Tiley said in an announcement.
Added ATP head Chris Kermode: “The ATP Cup fits perfectly with our strategy to innovate and look towards the future.”
“We know from discussions with the players that the ATP Cup will provide a great way for them to open their season – bringing together the world’s best for a major team event that compliments existing scheduling, provides highly-coveted ATP ranking points and clearly links to the Australian Open.”
Sydney will is set to upgrade its ageing Olympic Park in time for the Cup final in a year at a cost of $35 million or so; the project includes putting a moveable roof on the Rosewall arena.
Officials said Brisbane will be able to host both it’s share of the Cup matches as well as continue with a WTA event – played last week for the last time in conjunction with the ATP men.
“The timing is right for expansion,” Tiley said. “We want more players rewarded, more opportunities for them, more opportunities for fans to get to see them…more global exposure for the sport.”