ITF and ATP Stage Battle for Team Competition Supremacy

If anything can be said against the Davis Cup, it would have to be that only the most dedicated follower of tennis can figure out what the bloody hell is going on.

Spread out all over the place, it take forever to figure out who is playing whom and what significance that matches hold.

Contrast that to the FIFA World Cup Finals, in Russia this year, where once qualifying has been determined, reaches an outcome over the span of a month.

There has been talk of revamping the Davis Cup, although it seems like talk is all that ever happens, but the ITF, the sanctioning body responsible, now faces the spectre of an ATF team competition to be held in Australia.

The plan is to call it the ATP World Team Cup, which in partnership with Tennis Australia, would commence play in 2020 at the onset of the new season in January.

The ATP is dangling the prospect of $20 million in prizemoney, their clear intention to attract the world’s top players.

Meanwhile, tennis federations around the world are meeting in August to consider proposals to transform the Davis Cup competition into a format culminating with a World Cup derived tournament that would come at the end of November.

Many observers view the potential of two major national team competitions occurring so close together as detrimental to the game; sort of a tennis civil war.

Having a major ATP event just ahead of the Australian Open might impact some of the traditional lead-ups, but Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley is in favour of the move.

He said, in remarks picked up by the AAP, “This is an exciting new era in men’s tennis. The world’s top players will continue to start their year in Australia in a format that we believe will deeply engage the fans across Australia and throughout the world.”

The players will go where the money is, which is understandable, but tennis fans may be torn and it might not be all that long before Davis Cups can be had for bargain prices on eBay.