ATP and WTA players will compete at the start of 2023 at the new United Cup, the two sanctioning bodies confirmed on Thursday.
The competition to be staged in the Australian cities of Perth, Brisbane and Sydney starts on on December 29 and concludes on January 8, a week before the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
The concept mimics the wildly popular mixed team Hopman Cup in Perth, which ran for three decades before being killed off by tennis bosses.
The Mark II version with 18 nations on the entry list also replaces the ATP Cup, which survived for three editions but never really gained fan traction.
The first 12 countries will qualify via the six highest-ranked No. 1 players who enter from both the ATP and WTA.
The remaining six countries will qualify according to the best combined ranking of their respective No. 1 men’s and women’s players; teams will feature three to four players from each Tour.
Each city will host two groups of three countries, competing in a round-robin format, with ties comprising two ATP and two WTA singles matches, and one mixed doubles match.
Each City Final winner will advance to the United Cup Final Four in Sydney (January 6-8), with the next best performing team from the group stages completing the quartet.
“The ATP Cup will create incredible new experiences for our fans,’ ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi said of the new venture.
“We’re excited to see the best men’s and women’s players competing together, with ranking points on the line, to launch the season like never before.”
Added his WTA counterpart Steve Simon: “The United Cup is an important and strategic collaboration between the WTA, the ATP and Tennis Australia that reflects a continued commitment in elevating our sport.
“It will bring together emerging stars and established athletes from both Tours to compete on the same stage, giving players and fans a unique experience in which the final outcome may be determined with women and men competing together.”