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Kyrgios Looks To Make An Impact On Australian Wildfires

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2020

Kyrgios Looks To Make An Impact On Australian Wildfires

Ahead of ATP Cup, Aussie opens up on how he hopes to help

Nick Kyrgios will have home on his mind during the ATP Cup as Australia continues to be impacted by the worst wildfires seen in decades.

As of Wednesday, 17 people have died throughout the country and more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed. Kyrgios’ hometown of Canberra is experiencing its worst air quality on record as local residents have been told to stay indoors.

Eager to help, Kyrgios tweeted on Wednesday to Tennis Australia and asked them to put on an exhibition fundraiser. The tweet quickly went viral as fans applauded the Aussie for looking to make a difference.

“It’s pretty tragic what’s going on, especially with my hometown, Canberra, being under a bit of smoke, the most hazardous smoke in the world at the moment,” Kyrgios said on Thursday at a pre-tournament press conference in Brisbane. “It’s obviously sad for everything that’s going on… There’s no rain predicted there for the next four months, so it doesn’t look like the fires are going to slow down anytime soon, which is pretty sad. To see Canberra be like that, it’s pretty tough.”

If Kyrgios hoped to create action, his tweet helped accomplish that. Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, confirmed shortly after that a multi-city effort will be launched to support those who have been impacted by the wildfires.

“We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fundraising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the ATP Cup, Australian Open and our other events over the coming weeks,” Tiley wrote in a statement. “Stay tuned for further announcements.”

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Kyrgios also knows that he has the support of his peers on Team Australia. The other players in the squad hope to lend a hand throughout the coming weeks.

“I’m sure that all these guys will be happy to help,” Kyrgios said. “John Millman and John Peers retweeted, so the more exposure it gets, I think we have the potential to do something pretty special.”

Team Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt added that, “It’s been a pretty tough time for a lot of the major states of our country… I think all of us feel like we would like to help in some way. Tennis, and especially Tennis Australia, have always made an effort to try and put things together, and we have got a massive platform… If they can organise something quick enough, I’m sure they will try and do absolutely everything they can.”

For now, Kyrgios will shift his focus to Australia’s first match on Friday against Germany in Group F. Each victory that the 24-year-old can provide his team will only heighten his platform to talk about the wildfires that impact him personally.

“Our focus, obviously, is tomorrow,” Kyrgios said. “We’ve got a massive match. But all the families and all affected are in our thoughts.”

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Why The British Are Savouring 'Totally Unique' ATP Cup Atmosphere

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2020

Why The British Are Savouring ‘Totally Unique’ ATP Cup Atmosphere

Brits are bringing long-standing friendships to team competition

Throughout the year, you can find Great Britain’s tennis stars in players’ lounges, restaurants and hotel rooms around the world bantering over football among other sports. They are undoubtedly a tight-knit group. But week-to-week, they compete for themselves.

What is special about the ATP Cup is that it provides guys like Daniel Evans, Cameron Norrie, James Ward, Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray a chance to bring those friendships onto the court, competing as a team against other countries.

“It’s just a different dynamic, different energy. It’s cool to have your teammates there on the side cheering you on and wanting you to win for the team. It’s really cool to be in it together,” Murray said. “We don’t really ever get a chance to do that, and I think that’s what’s so exciting about this new event. It’ll bring together a lot of teams, a lot of players together. You see those emotions and stuff on the side of the court with the support. It’s totally unique.”

It’s not to say that the Brits don’t support each other throughout the season. But when they take the court in Sydney beginning Friday, they’ll be part of the action, sitting in the special team zones that are unique to the ATP Cup to provide support for teammates.

“We spend a lot of time together during the year at events, but I think when we come together as a team, it’s different,” Murray said. “Everyone’s closer together and you’re spending your days with those people. We all know each other really well, whether that’s the players or the coaches or the physios and stuff that are here with us, the support team. It’s cool. We really enjoy it.”

Team Great Britain

And while the Brits joke around with each other off the court between matches — Norrie and Murray had good fun Wednesday on Sydney Harbour poking fun at one another’s sunglasses — those genuine friendships carry into the heat of competition in a good way.

“We’re all into the same stuff, so it makes it a lot easier,” Ward said. “It helps if you get on well off the court. Everyone does on our team so on the court we’re going to fight for each other harder and support each other as well.”

Evans, the No. 1 singles player for Great Britain in Sydney, echoed many of the same sentiments.

“I think it’s going to be really good,” Evans said. “You know they can get pumped for the guy on court to try and get him through the match in a tight one, and I think it will be a great new addition.”

Another positive the players have found in the ATP Cup is that it feels like an extra-special way to begin the new season, motivating them even more to get off to a good start.

“I think for the players, they all enjoy getting together as a team,” Murray said. “Everyone gets on well from the respective countries and you’re pulling together for one common goal. It’s different. It’s fun and I think it’s a great way for the Tour to kick off its season.”

Each team has a captain at the ATP Cup. And in Team Great Britain’s case, former World No. 4 Tim Henman is doing whatever he can to put his players in position for success at this inaugural 24-team event.

“I’ve known these guys for a long, long time away from an event like this. But certainly when you do get together at the beginning of a new year — we’ve had plenty of time to prepare — it’s great to build that spirit,” Henman said. “We’ll need it because you look at this event as a whole and the 24 teams and you have eight of the Top 10, 23 of the Top 30 [in the ATP Rankings] playing, we’re going to need to be firing on all cylinders.”

For the players, it’s a special opportunity to work with a national icon, one who could help lead them to victory here in Sydney.

“It’s nice to have Tim as an addition to pass on some of the experience on the court and get to know him a bit better,” Norrie said. “I think we’re all really excited to get out there and start the year. It’s looking like it’s shaping up to be a sick event, so let’s see what happens.”

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Brilliant Bonding At Bondi Beach For Thiem & Austria

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2020

Brilliant Bonding At Bondi Beach For Thiem & Austria

Austrians begin their ATP Cup on Saturday against Croatia

Bondi Beach became a brilliant bonding location for Team Austria on Thursday morning, with the start of their ATP Cup just two days away. Dominic Thiem and the Austrians had a blast at the Bondi Icebergs as a nice break from practice before locking in to face Team Croatia on Saturday evening in Sydney.

“It’s a great city and I’ve never been to Bondi Beach, so I’m happy to be brought here,” Thiem said. “It’s a great kick-off for the tournament and we are all getting more and more excited, and can’t wait for the start.”

The Bondi Icebergs is a year-round outdoor pool high above the beach itself with a stunning view of the water. The Austrians took full advantage of that, taking plenty of pictures before jumping in the pool to cool off.

Team Austria

Most importantly, the guys were growing even closer together, building the chemistry that is making this inaugural 24-team event special.

“We know each other for a long time, everybody. So it’s a great atmosphere. We’re having a lot of fun, we’re having good practices, so it’s exactly the way it should be,” Thiem said. “It’s been a lot of practices and of course we can’t wait that the matches are going on again. We all miss our tennis, our matches, but also the other matches on TV. It’s just nice when the new season starts again and it’s going to be great when the time is ready.”

According to captain Thomas Muster, a former World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, his country’s stars have been working hard in preparation. They will need to battle through a tough Group E to advance to the last eight, also facing Team Argentina and Poland in round-robin play.

“[They are] doing very well. I think we all adjusted well to the time change, to the climate. The boys have been in the country for quite a while,” Muster said. “We’re all good and ready to go.”

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To Deuce & Beyond: The Players Who Step Up In Return Games

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2020

To Deuce & Beyond: The Players Who Step Up In Return Games

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers examines which players consistently keep the score close when they’re returning

If the score is Deuce, it’s probably Dominic Thiem returning.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of games that reach Deuce in the past four seasons identifies Thiem as the leading candidate to stretch the server to Deuce, at 863 times. The data set is comprised of all players on tour from 2016-2019 that took the server to Deuce at least 100 times over the four-year span.

Thiem was one of only two players that reached the 800-game mark, with the other being Alexander Zverev, who took the server to Deuce 807 times over the past four seasons.

The leading 10 players that were able to get the score to Deuce when returning from 2016-2019 are in the table below.

2016-2019: Most Games Stretched To Deuce As A Returner

# Player Deuce Games When Returning
1 D. Thiem 863
2 A. Zverev 807
3 N. Djokovic 785
4 D. Goffin 757
5 R. Bautista Agut 742
6 R. Nadal 716
7 K. Nishikori 702
8 D. Schwartzman 693
9 F. Verdasco 690
10 B. Paire 682

2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas led the tour last season with the most amount of return games played at Deuce, with 243.

2019: Total Deuce Games When Returning
S. Tsitsipas = 243
A. Zverev = 232
D. Medvedev = 232

Who won the most return games from Deuce over the past four seasons? It was current World No. 1, Rafael Nadal, who was the only player to top the 40 percentile mark, winning 40.36 per cent (289/716) from 2016-2019.

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The 10 leading players who had the highest win percentage are in the table below.

2016-2019: Highest Win Percentage Breaking From Deuce

# Player Games Won/Total Win Percentage
1 R. Nadal 289/716 40.36%
2 A. Murray 172/441 39.00%
3 C. Garin 58/160 36.25%
4 D. Dzumhur 187/523 35.76%
5 N. Djokovic 279/785 35.54%
6 Y. Nishioka 98/278 35.25%
7 R. Gasquet 181/516 35.08%
8 D. Goffin 260/757 34.35%
9 F. Fognini 260/757 34.35%
10 D. Schwartzman 234/692 33.77%

The leading three players from the 2019 season, who had at least 25 games go to Deuce when returning serve were:

2019: Highest Win Percentage Breaking From Deuce
N. Gombos = 44.44% (16/35)
R. Nadal = 41.12% (81/197)
N. Djokovic = 39.52% (83/210)

Extending the server to Deuce is quite often a victory in its own right, making the server have to work harder to hold, which eventually will lead to a break of serve. Converting these longer, grueling games is as much about mental toughness and concentration as it is about return prowess and patterns of play.

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Air quality fears at GB's ATP Cup venue as bushfires rage

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Medical experts will monitor air quality during the ATP Cup in Australia as bushfires rage close to the tournament’s Sydney venue.

Measures have been taken to ensure the safety of players, staff and spectators in the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney’s Olympic Tennis Centre.

The British team will play their group games at the venue, which will also host all knockout matches.

GB’s opening tie against Bulgaria will start at 06:30 GMT on 3 January.

Some of the world’s top players are due to take part in the new 24-nation men’s team event, including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Matches will also take place in Brisbane and Perth, which have so far been unaffected by the bushfires that have killed at least eight people in the Sydney area and across the states of New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria.

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“We have got medical experts on site during the tournament who will be advising in relation to conditions and ensuring it is safe for players to play and also safe for our fans and our ball boys and staff,” said tournament director Tom Larner.

It is not yet clear what measures will be taken if health concerns are raised.

Two of the six groups of four teams are due to play their three round-robin ties in Sydney.

Belgium and Moldova, the other two teams along with Britain and Bulgaria in Group C, will contest the first match at the Ken Rosewall Arena from 23:00 GMT on Thursday, 2 January.

Countries in Group E – Austria, Croatia, Argentina and Poland – will also play their opening matches in Sydney before the eight qualifiers relocate to the city for the knockout stages, which are due to take place from 9-11 January.

Dan Evans, James Ward and Cameron Norrie will compete as singles players for Britain, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completing the five-man team. Andy Murray was forced to withdraw due to injury.

The WTA’s Brisbane International is also due to take place from 6 January, while the Australian Open gets under way in Adelaide on 20 January.

  • Brisbane International: Maria Sharapova handed wildcard

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Djokovic Meets Australia's Mascot, The Koala

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Djokovic Meets Australia’s Mascot, The Koala

Team Serbia kicks off their ATP Cup run on Saturday

Novak Djokovic admires the simplicity, the restorative aspects of the koala lifestyle. The irresistible animals rarely stray from their eucalyptus trees in eastern Australia and sleep for up to 18 hours a day.

Djokovic, however, the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, doesn’t think it’d be such a good idea for him or Team Serbia to act more like koalas at the ATP Cup in Brisbane.

“I don’t think the koala lifestyle would help us tennis players a lot, even though at times we could definitely learn something from them,” Djokovic said on Wednesday while standing next to a couple of cuddly koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. “Sometimes the simple things are the best things, just relaxing and being present, kind of recuperating and being outdoors, being in the nature.”

Serbia’s No. 1 grew up exploring nature and the Serbian mountains, and that’s where Djokovic learned to appreciate wildlife and animals.

“I love animals, spending times close to them but respecting their space, which I think is very important because we sometimes as people try to act as the most dominant species, which we consider ourselves to be. But I truly believe we all should live in harmony and respect and there is a higher order of nature that we should all be aware of,” Djokovic said. “I’m very close to a koala at the moment. I see that they’re sleeping and resting so I don’t want to disturb them too much but it’s definitely a very unique experience.”

Djokovic and his ATP Cup teammates Dusan Lajovic, Nikola Milojevic, Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki have been adapting the koala lifestyle at times – enjoying each other’s company off the court and relaxing away from the tennis. But they’ve been employing their usual routines – those of hard-working tennis players – most of the time Down Under.

Serbia plays its first match on Saturday against South Africa.

“Many, many different things that we can do also off the court as well we get to enjoy. We stay together and play different sports. We spend quality time and it’s fun, because the concept of ATP Cup is a team concept, team format, and so it does give us an opportunity to represent our country and be a part of the team which is not something that we do experience throughout the year very often,” Djokovic said.

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Venus Williams pulls out of Brisbane warm-up

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Former world number one Venus Williams has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International after suffering an “unexpected setback” in training.

The 39-year-old, who won the last of her seven Grand Slam singles titles in 2008, hopes to play in Adelaide before the Australian Open on 20 January.

A replacement for the world number 52 will be announced on Thursday.

World number one Ashleigh Barty and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka are among a strong field.

The tournament begins on 6 January.

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Anderson: ‘ATP Cup Is Going To Be An Awesome Event’

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Anderson: ‘ATP Cup Is Going To Be An Awesome Event’

South African returns to competitive play for the first time in six months

Kevin Anderson will make a welcome return to the ATP Tour for the first time in six months, representing Team South Africa at the inaugural ATP Cup, which is being held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from 3 January.

“It’s going to be an awesome event representing South Africa and also for the sport of tennis,” Anderson told “Coming back to a big stage, with guaranteed matches is a perfect way to start the season.

Anderson, who has not played competitively since 5 July due to a right knee injury, will lead Team South Africa in Brisbane alongside Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse, Khololwam Montsi and Raven Klaasen.

“It’s a great opportunity to represent South Africa in this format, which makes a lot of sense for players,” said Anderson. “We have a good team with Lloyd, who continues to get better, and Raven, who had an amazing year in doubles.

“I’ll be healthy and ready to go, I bring a lot of experience and have played a lot of these guys before. Coming back from injuries is always a little bit tricky, but the way my practises have been going, I’ll be ready to go from the very first match.”

Anderson was restricted to just 15 matches in the 2019 season, which included lifting his sixth ATP Tour title at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune (d. Karlovic). His final match of the year came against Guido Pella in the Wimbledon third round on 5 July. The former World No. 5 and his wife, Kelsey, then welcomed their first child, Keira, on 27 September.

“2019 was a bit of a tough year for me on the tennis court,” said Anderson. “Coming in after my best year in 2018, starting the year off well and winning in Pune. Then the injuries came upon me, first the elbow then the knee, after the elbow had been better for the week.

“Looking back, you always think you could have done better, but off the court my wife and I knew we’d be having our first baby. So it was a blessing in disguise, to be able to spend more time with them, especially at home. All in all, I’m looking forward to getting back on the match court.”

Last month, Anderson hosted Courtside Cause, his third charity event, at the Boca Grove Golf & Tennis Club. The event benefitted First Serve, Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue and Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance.

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Why Unity Will Be 'Most Powerful Weapon' For Team Bulgaria

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Why Unity Will Be ‘Most Powerful Weapon’ For Team Bulgaria

Playing captain Dimitrov looks to lead his country to Sydney success

When Team Bulgaria’s Adrian Andreev was seven, he was at the tennis club where he trained, practising like normal, when the recent Wimbledon Boys’ Singles champion stopped by for a hit. Grigor Dimitrov was only 17 at the time, but he was already showing the potential of becoming a superstar.

“It was awesome,” Andreev recalled. “Everyone was talking about him and they said he’s upcoming and he made it to the very top, so that’s great.”

Not only has Dimitrov reached No. 3 in the ATP Rankings and won the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, but he has inspired the next generation of Bulgarian tennis players. The 28-year-old will be hands-on with Andreev, Dimitar Kuzmanov, Alexandar Lazarov and Alexander Donski as Team Bulgaria’s playing captain at the ATP Cup in Sydney.

“For me tennis has always been my passion and I think growing up in Bulgaria, I always wanted to bring something back to the country if I would have ever made it to the top, and I think now I feel obviously the weight of a little bit of what I have achieved throughout all the years,” Dimitrov said. “Being able to have these guys by my side, it’s great to be able to give a little bit of an insight into what it is to be on the next level and hopefully they can achieve the same thing one day.”

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It’s no secret what Dimitrov has accomplished on the court. But according to Bulgaria’s No. 2 singles player, Kuzmanov, the eight-time titlist’s success has transcended tennis in their country.

“Obviously it’s great for the whole country and for each sport, not only in tennis, but in every other sport. He’s a role model, an ambassador for our country, for our sport, for our mentality, for our traditions and it’s great,” Kuzmanov said. “The last time we had someone like him was probably [Hristo] Stoichkov, so it’s amazing to have someone like him.”

Stoichkov, a retired football star, received the prestigious Ballon d’Or — given to the football player considered the best in the world for that year — in 1994, putting Dimitrov in elite company. And since the World No. 20 is the only Bulgarian in the Top 100, qualifying his country for the ATP Cup gives his teammates a special opportunity to compete on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“It’s a great experience and that’s why we were really happy when we found out that we were going to take part in the ATP Cup with Grigor as a captain. He’s one of the best tennis players in the world and we can only learn from him and that’s what we did the past few days since we came here,” Kuzmanov said. “He’s really open and he’s helping each one of us and looking forward for the upcoming 10 days and trying to learn as much as I can and [I think it’s the same] for everyone on the team.”

Team Bulgaria will compete in Group C at the ATP Cup.

Dimitrov will do all he can to earn as many wins as possible when he is competing. But he is also doing everything in his power to empower his countrymen.

“I’m very happy to share, spend a lot of time with them. I just basically tell them, ‘Guys, ask me anything you want, anything you need.’ To me it’s a pure honour,” Dimitrov said. “I’ve always played for Bulgaria and now to be able to participate in the ATP Cup is something very special and it’s special for them. I’m not taking that role as a playing captain lightly, and hopefully I [can] help them.”

Dimitrov has been on court assisting teammates with their games, a new role for the Bulgarian No. 1. He will also be able to coach during matches as captain.

“I think being a coach is one of the toughest jobs, and now I know what it is to be a little bit on the other end,” Dimitrov said. “In the past days I’ve spent some time with the boys on the court and I was just on the side basically. It’s very different.

“I think all the guys are doing an amazing job for being in such an environment. I think it’s very new for them. I understand that… Also to be with the other top guys, clearly when I’m with the team, I don’t really think of me in any other way, just part of the team. They’re doing great, honestly. They’re doing great. I’m very happy and proud of each one of them.”

Eight of the Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings are competing, and there are six countries with multiple Top 30 players playing in this 24-team event. So it won’t be easy, but the Bulgarians believe they bring strong intangibles that will help them succeed.

From early practices ahead of the ATP Cup, it is clear that there will be plenty of team-based factors that play a role in individual matches.

“It’s going to be because we have a great team spirit,” Kuzmanov said. “It’s in our veins, it’s in our history as a nation. That is what our most powerful weapon is and once again we expect a lot of Bulgarians living here in Australia are going to cheer for us and we’ll try to make our country proud.”

Dimitrov may be the biggest star for Team Bulgaria. But he agrees with Kuzmanov that the best players in the ATP Rankings may not always come out on top at the ATP Cup.

“The unity, that’s always been the key,” Dimitrov said. “I think we have a legitimate chance in every corner, on every level. If we stay united, if we do things the right way, anything can happen.”

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ATP Cup: Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic in action at new event in Australia

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Men’s team tennis in a World Cup-style format – haven’t we only just had an event like that?

Less than six weeks after Rafael Nadal helped Spain win the inaugural Davis Cup finals in Madrid, the world’s best male players will again represent their countries at a rival team competition, the ATP Cup.

Set up by the men’s tour with the carrot of huge prize money and ranking points, the new event features 24 teams playing over 10 days in three Australian cities in January.

Great Britain are among the nations competing after Andy Murray, using an injury protected ranking of two, made a late decision to enter.

However, former world number one Murray pulled out of the event – and the Australian Open, which starts on 20 January – with a pelvic injury just six days before Britain’s opening match.

Here is everything you need to know about the new addition to the start of the 2020 tennis calendar.

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What is the ATP Cup?

The 24-nation event features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties. The ties – comprising two singles matches and one doubles – are best of three.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Group matches are taking place on outdoor hard courts in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The knockout stage – the Final Eight – will be played at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The final is on 12 January, which is eight days before the start of the opening Grand Slam event of the year – the Australian Open.

There is a prize pot of 22m Australian dollars (£11.6m) and a player can win up to 750 singles ranking points.

Nine of the world’s top 10 players are in action, with only Swiss great Roger Federer absent after he withdrew to spend more time with his family.

The strongest team on paper in terms of their two highest ranked singles players are Spain, with world number one Rafael Nadal and world number nine Roberto Bautista Agut.

The six groups
Group A: Serbia, France, South Africa, Chile
Group B: Spain, Japan, Georgia, Uruguay
Group C: Belgium, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Moldova
Group D: Russia, Italy, United States, Norway
Group E: Austria, Croatia, Argentina, Poland
Group F: Germany, Greece, Canada, Australia

How is the ATP Cup different to the Davis Cup?

What many onlookers from inside and outside tennis are struggling to fathom is why another national team knockout competition is taking place so soon after the Davis Cup, which itself was a revamped event played over a week in a round-robin/knockout format.

But there are several differences between the two.

The ATP Cup has been created by the men’s tour, rather than the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which runs the 119-year-old Davis Cup.

Qualification for the ATP Cup is based on a country’s top-ranked singles player, while in the Davis Cup teams play qualifying ties to reach the week-long finals.

The offer of rankings points is a feature of the new event only – a player who plays and wins all possible singles matches can earn 750 ATP rankings points. The only events where more points are on offer are at the four Grand Slams (2000 for winner), ATP Finals (1500) and nine Masters events (1000).

The number of rankings points to be awarded will depend on the ranking of the opponent and the round of the result. Doubles ranking points are also being offered.

Like at the Davis Cup, the singles matches will be best-of-three tie-break sets. But the difference in the doubles here is that there will be no-advantage scoring and a match tie-break instead of a third set.

While the Davis Cup came at the end of a gruelling season, the ATP Cup falls at the beginning and will serve as a useful warm-up for the Australian Open.

But the creation of two separate, but very similar, events at either end of an already long season has left some players having to make tough choices.

Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer withdrew from the ATP Cup for family reasons, while Russian world number five Daniil Medvedev and German world number seven Alexander Zverev skipped the Davis Cup finals.

World number two Novak Djokovic has called for the two events to be merged, saying: “Looking long term, I don’t think that the two events can coexist six weeks apart. It’s just a bit too congested.”

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos investment group is behind the overhaul of the Davis Cup, maintains he is open to finding a solution with the ATP over combining the events.

“We are really open to sit down with the ATP and try to arrive to a deal, to make a unique competition, a super event of two weeks and try to find the best part in the calendar,” Pique said at the Madrid event in November.

“In the next few months I think we will start talking again with the ATP. And I hope in the next few months we can announce something.”

Top players at ATP Cup (world ranking in brackets)
Rafael Nadal, Spain (1) Alexander Zverev, Germany (7)
Novak Djokovic, Serbia (2) Matteo Berretini, Italy (8)
Daniil Medvedev, Russia (4) Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain (9)
Dominic Thiem, Austria (5) Gael Monfils, France (10)
Stefanos Tsitispas, Greece (6)

Who are Great Britain playing?

If it had not been for Andy Murray’s late decision to use his protected world ranking of two, Great Britain might not have qualified for the inaugural event because their other players may not have been ranked high enough.

But then the 32-year-old Scot, who only had career-saving hip surgery last January, announced on Saturday he would not play after “a setback” with the pelvic injury he has been nursing since the Davis Cup finals in November.

That has led to James Ward being called up alongside British number one Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie as the singles players, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completing the five-man team.

As the nation’s leading player, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was able to choose the team captain and picked his mentor Tim Henman for the job.

“He’s got a lot of experience, he’s a fun guy to be around and he played lots of Davis Cups,” Murray said in November.

Great Britain open their Group C campaign against Bulgaria in Sydney on 3 January (06:30 GMT), with world number 42 Evans taking on former Wimbledon semi-finalist and world number 20 Grigor Dimitrov in the first match of the tie.

Their other round-robin ties are against Belgium on 5 January and Moldova two days after that.

Belgium’s top-ranked player is world number 11 David Goffin, while Moldova’s is world number 46 Radu Albot.

Great Britain reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in November, losing to eventual champions Spain.

What have Becker and Safin got to do with it?

With each country’s top-ranked player allowed to select their team’s captain, the ATP Cup features the return of some familiar names in charge.

Germany will be captained by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker (chosen by world number seven Alexander Zverev), while Russia will be led by former world number one Marat Safin (picked by world number five Daniil Medvedev).

Other captains include 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster (Austria) and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt (Australia).

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s highest ranked player Dimitrov has picked none other than himself as captain.


ATP Cup group-stage schedule (times GMT, * day before)
Brisbane Perth Sydney
3 Jan – early Greece v Canada (00:00) USA v Norway (02:00) Belgium v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Germany v Australia (07:30) Russia v Italy (09:30) Bulgaria v Great Britain (06:30)
4 Jan – early France v Chile (00:00) Japan v Uruguay (02:00) Argentina v Poland (23:00*)
– late Serbia v South Africa Spain v Georgia (09:30) Austria v Croatia (06:30)
5 Jan – early Canada v Australia (00:00) Italy v Norway (02:00) Bulgaria v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Germany v Greece (07:30) Russia v USA (09:30) Belgium v Great Britain (06:30)
6 Jan – early South Africa v Chile (00:00) Japan v Georgia (02:00) Croatia v Poland (23:00*)
– late Serbia v France (07:30) Spain v Uruguay (09:30) Austria v Argentina (06:30)
7 Jan – early Germany v Canada (00:00) Russia v Norway (02:00) Great Britain v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Greece v Australia (07:30) Italy v USA (09:30) Bulgaria v Belgium (06:30)
8 Jan – early Serbia v Chile (00:00) Spain v Japan (02:00) Austria v Poland (23:00*)
– late France v South Africa (07:30) Georgia v Uruguay (09:30) Croatia v Argentina (06:30)

Knockout stage

Thursday, 9 January – two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Friday, 10 January – two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Saturday, 11 January – semi-finals (00:00 and 07:30)

Sunday, 12 January – final (07:30)

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