ATP President Chris Kermode (4R), US player John Isner (3R) and Serbia's Novak Djokovic (2R) speak at the launch of the new ATP cup tournament on the sidelines of the ATP tour finals in London on November 15, 2018. - The tournament will be played across three Australian cities over ten days in the lead up to the Australian Open and will feature teams from 24 countries from 2020. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Tennis | ATP Cup | The draw has been made as the ATP Cup hype gathers pace on the eve of the new format Davis Cup Finals
Davis Cup Finals preparations are underway to begin the day after the ATP Finals
LONDON, UK – The ATP Cup will kick off the 2020 season for the tour as they use this week to drum up interest while Davis Cup Final preparations are underway
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Field finalised for the ATP Cup
The field has been set for the inaugural ATP Cup and this week at the Nitto ATP Finals, the tour has taken every opportunity to line up the star-studded picks for captains, while over in Madrid, teams are practicing at the Caja Magica for the new format Davis Cup Finals.
Even the graphics look similar between the two, and the other thing that is common between the competitions is the complex rules around participation and groupings.
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The tournament will be played over six days in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. Eight teams then advance to the Final Eight four-day knockout stage in Sydney.
Over the past couple of days some of the team captains have been paraded before the press at the Nitto ATP Finals. From Germany, Alexander Zverev has chosen Boris Becker as the team captain, Daniil Medvedev has selected Marat Safin, and Dominic Thiem has drafted Thomas Muster in as a captain.
Andy Murray’s selection was Tim Henman, who said: “I’m really excited to be a part of it, and Andy asked me about a month ago. If I’m honest, it was not something that I had really given a great deal of thought at that stage. Then when we did discuss it, I think there are lots of reasons why I accepted, and I think one of the reasons is Andy. I have had a great relationship with him for a long, long time.”
These sentiments were shared by the three other former players, and from a point of view in the calendar, the ATP Cup makes a lot of sense for this tour. Markedly during this week, those of us accredited for the Davis Cup Finals see repeated communications for activities this week, and for the first day when many people will still be in transit.
How the Davis Cup can then have the lofty ideals of wanting to be a two-week competition is beyond comprehension. If we, the media, are tired and trying to push through a further week of competition before the season ends, then the players are a thousand-fold more spent.
When all said and done – the ATP Cup has stolen a march and put the Davis Cup on the back foot. They have the prime spot for a team competition, with ranking points and the added bonus of everyone aiming for the southern hemisphere anyway.
Whether or not smaller sites will ever have the capacity to go on an Aussie road-trip to cover the entire ATP Cup remains to be seen, but for now, despite starting six weeks after the end of the Davis Cup, the ATP Cup already has the upper-hand.
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