Djokovic and Nadal suggest merger of ATP Cup and Davis Cup

Sam Groth and Geoff Masters look on during the 2020 ATP Cup Draw in Perth (by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have suggested that the sport’s two national team competitions, the ATP Cup and the Davis Cup, should be merged.

The inaugural ATP Cup, run by the Association of Tennis Professionals, begins today in Australia. It comes just six weeks after the revamped Davis Cup, run by the International Tennis Federation, took place.

Reuters reports that Djokovic told a press conference on Thursday: “We need to have one Super World Cup event, whatever you want to call it.

“That’s not going to happen next year…but if the two sides, the ITF, the Davis Cup, and the ATP, get together very quickly, it can happen possibly for 2022.

“I hope it will happen because it’s kind of hard to get top players to commit to play both events. And it’s six weeks apart, so they’re not really helping each other in terms of marketing, in terms of the value of the event and so forth.”

Djokovic heads the ATP players’ council.

Nadal said: “For me personally that’s not the ideal situation for our sport, but that’s how it works today and I’m very excited that we can change that in the future.”

The ATP Cup has caused some reshuffling of the early tennis season, with the Australian Open start date moved back, and pre-season tournaments including the Hopman Cup and Sydney International not running this year.

The ATP Cup will involve 24 country teams. Group stage games will take place in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from January 3, and a knock-out stage will take place in Sydney from January 9 to 12. The tournament offers a prize pool of $15m.

Coverage of the tournament will be broadcast in 180 countries. In Australia, free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine is the rights-holder. International rights-holders include ESPN (in Latin America), Eurosport (Scandinavia), Tennis Channel (United States), TSN (Canada), BeIN (France and MENA), TV Asahi (Japan), Sky Deutschland (Germany), and Servus TV (Austria).  The broadcast is being produced by Tennis Australia, and the sale of media rights is being handled by ATP Media, the media arm of the ATP Tour.