The ATP has officially unveiled a new international team competition, the ATP Cup, to start the men’s tennis season from 2020.
The new tournament, to be staged in three Australian cities ahead of the Australian Open, will see teams from 24 countries face off against each other in six groups of four.
The creation of the new competition has set up a potential flashpoint with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) which was recently given the green light to launch a revamped Davis Cup next year. The new 18-nation competition will be held in Madrid at the end of November 2019, meaning the two tournaments would be separated by just six weeks.
The new ATP event will offer $15m (€13m) in prize money and ranking points, while the ITF’s Davis Cup, which is underwritten by Kosmos, the investment group founded by the Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and e-commerce company Rakuten, will offer $20m of prize money but no ranking points.
The ATP Cup enjoys the support of world number one Novak Djokovic who joined ATP Executive chairman & president Chris Kermode and Craig Tiley, chief executive of Tennis Australia, to reveal the details of the competition.
“I like that it’s owned by ATP, by the players, and that we have ranking points, and it’s going to be the best way to kick start the season. Australia is a country that has a Grand Slam, that nurtures tennis tradition,” he said.
World number five, Alexander Zverev recently suggested the top players would boycott the new Davis Cup format, and opt to play in the ATP Cup, although world number two Rafael Nadal has lent his support to the ITF revamp, saying he would play in the competition, which will take place in Madrid’s La Caja Mágica.
It is believed the ATP and ITF/Kosmos had been in discussions to create a co-sanctioned event but were unable to reach an agreement.