The ATP and Tennis Australia officials are ploughing ahead with what looks like a major scheduling clash with the International Tennis Federation’s Davis Cup, with neither side prepared at the moment to back down.
Tennis Australia is a major partner with the ATP in the proposed January, 2020, relaunch of the dormant World Team Cup, played until 2012 in Dusseldorf and set to include up to 24 national teams laying for a massive $14 million in prize money.
With the competition is set for a rebirth smack in the middle of the Australian Open run-up, the plan leaves current events including the Hopman Cup and the ATP-WTA Brisbane and Sydney tournament uncertain of their futures.
The Mark II WTC will now feature ranking points for competitors, a major drawing point; No. 2 Novak Djokovic said last week in Shanghai that should push come to shove with the new-look Davis cup now compressed into a week in late November from 2019, he would give precedence to the ATP rival tournament.
Roger Federer said that the new Davis Cup format of one week instead of four spread over the seasons was “not designed for me.”
The competing major competitions are currently scheduled barely six weeks apart, drawing fire from many players who say enough is enough for an already crowded calendar.
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has been trying to allay fears of a feud between organisers of the two competing events.
“This has nothing to do with the Davis Cup, in fact, Davis Cup could have existed in its old format,” the South African administrator told the Weekend Australian.
“We are full steam ahead on preparing to deliver a great event. We’ve sent expressions of interest out to major cities across Australia. It will be a multi-city event. Each city will have better content than they currently have in (regards to) players.
“We will make it this massive launch for the season. It is not the Davis Cup. The Davis Cup is a different event. This is the players’ championship. The players’ team event.
“The players will have a team event at the start of the year and then they finish the year with an individual event (the ATP Finals).”
Tiley hinted that Perth, and Brisbane could be first in the queue of potential Australian hosts for WTC early rounds along with Sydney and Adelaide.
The fate of WTA events in Brisbane and Sydney remain a huge question mark, with women not a part of the WTC.