Pity tennis’ Davis Cup.
Once the tennis equivalent of World Cup titles in codes such as rugby and soccer, or Ryder Cup in golf, the Davis Cup has fallen on hard times, to the extent that the International Tennis Federation shuffled the format to make it more appealing.
A new threat looms in the form of the ATP Cup, another team competition that will lure top players when in launches in Australia in 2020 with lucrative prizemoney.
Even casual tennis players would enjoy the prospect of being paid for what they normally gladly do free.
The ATP Cup will take place over 10 days in three Australian cities.
Chris Kermode was joined by Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley and world number 1 Novak Djokovic for a presser promoting the ATP event, where Kermode expressed negativity that the proximity on the calendar of the Davis and the ATP Cups would dilute the quality of both competitions. Djokovic seconded the assertion.
Djokovic did find the ATP to his liking for one reason, saying, “I like that it’s owned by ATP, by the players.”
The ATP Cup would be played just ahead of the Australian Open and offers players the benefit of a spell between the end of the old season and the outset of the new.
Kermode has backing from many of the big players and hopes that the calendar can be arranged so as Davis and ATP Cup do not clash.
“The issue is timing, being so close, I get that,” he said, while he was quick to refute claims that the ATP Cup is the culprit for some top players abandoning Davis Cup.
The huge incentive for the players beyond the money is that the ATP Cup would offer 750 rankings points, something that Tiley mentioned when saying, “This is going to be special, it’s going to be fantastic to launch the year with this event and it will create interest immediately. “In 2020 we will run a great event and in partnership with the ATP Tour we will do all we can to ensure the Davis Cup is also a magnificent global event,” he said.