London | ATP Cup is launched
THE ATP Cup was launched on Thursday with the aim of kicking off the men’s season “with a bang” from 2020.
And it comes after the ITF decided to stage its revamped Davis Cup just six weeks before.
We wanted a fresh new team event. We’re trying to look to create new and exciting tournaments. Next Gen was one. This is another. We’re bringing the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, a much smaller event, back in a big way. Chris Kermode
The event – basically the World Team Cup relaunched after the demise of the original six years ago – will offer 750 ranking points and $15m in prize money.
Novak Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player Council, has questioned the sustainability of staging two world team competitions so close together.
Chris Kermode, the men’s tour supremo, said: “We wanted a fresh new team event. We’re trying to look to create new and exciting tournaments. Next Gen was one. This is another. We’re bringing the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, a much smaller event, back in a big way.
“Working on it for four-and-a-half years. It was time. Something vibrant. Innovative. So, with the ATP finals we can bookend the calendar. All the players back it.
“Having the two team events so close together is an issue. I see that. However, there seems to be a fixation the ATP has caused it. That is not the case. Even if the ATP Cup did not exist the Davis Cup still don’t have a week. There are challenges to putting it in November 2019.
“We’ve been having talks with everyone in tennis about the ideal calendar. With 64 events and the Grand Slams as well it is complicated.
“We met again on Tuesday. The tone was good. We’ll keep these conversations going. We’re open-minded to any idea to help and really confident that down the line we will find a resolution.”
The ATP Cup will feature 24 nations in six groups of four in three yet-to-be-named Australian cities.
Kermode said: “Having it in Australia makes sense with its sporting culture and our partnership with Tennis Australia. We’ve got the same vision to try to reach a wider audience. Our stars are the best athletes in the world and can tell their story to a wider audience.”
Craig Tiley, the CEO of TA, agreed. He said: “We’re pumped. It’s an aspirational, global event to elevate the sport and the fans interest in it. It’s special. A fantastic way to launch the season.”
Djokovic said: “I like the fact it is owned by the ATP and will have ranking points. A new, fresh team event to kick off the year in the best possible way. It’s truly going to make an impact two weeks before the Australian Open, one of our four Grand Slams which are historically our biggest events.”