Prizemoney top up for ATP Cup, with return to a 24-nation event on the horizon

Prizemoney for next month’s ATP Cup has been bumped up to more than $14 million – to be shared between players from 16 nations – as Tennis Australia vows a return to the original 24-nation format from 2023 onwards.

The other major men’s teams event on the calendar – the historic Davis Cup run by the ITF and the Kosmos Tennis group and just completed in Madrid – has flagged a 16-team format for next year’s finals.

The ATP Cup has received a significant boost in prizemoney.Credit:Getty Images

While the overall bounty for the ATP Cup – to be staged in Sydney from 1 January – is a noticeable increase on this year’s $10 million prizemoney pool, it’s a reduction on the $22 million on offer at the inaugural tournament – held across three Australian cities in January 2020.

An abridged version of the ATP Cup, with just 12 nations, took place entirely in Melbourne before this year’s Australian Open. The complexities of border closures and tennis professionals arriving in Australia and having to complete mandatory quarantine meant the tennis summer Down Under was turned on its head.

This summer Tennis Australia has opted to again stage a shortened version of the ATP Cup at two Sydney venues. In contrast – in January 2020 – ties took place in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney before the finals were held in the NSW capital.

Daniil Medvedev said the value of the Davis Cup remains.Credit:AP Photo

This summer the Australian tennis swing will unfold entirely in south-eastern Australia. The ATP Cup will unfold barely a month after the Davis Cup finished.

“For the ATP Cup in 2022 there will be 16 teams in competition, due to it being played in one city only. We plan to bring back the original 24-team ATP Cup format across three Australian cities for 2023,” said ATP Cup tournament director Tom Larner.

The ITF and Kosmos have indicated that 16 teams will feature at next year’s Davis Cup finals, down from the 18 nations that competed in recent weeks.

They said there will be more host cities and fewer nations playing in the Davis Cup finals next season in an attempt to increase fan engagement and keep the event sustainable.

They said four cities will host the group stages beginning in 2022, with another venue — likely Abu Dhabi — hosting the knockout rounds.

Madrid was the sole host of the competition over a seven-day period in 2019. This year, Innsbruck in Austria and Turin in Italy were added as hosts over an 11-day period that culminated with Russia winning the title.

The event was not played last year due to the pandemic.

The changes are being made as organisers continue to address the scheduling challenges that marred the first edition of the new Davis Cup in 2019.

“We are constantly thinking of how to improve, adjust for the future and looking to the edition of 2022,” Kosmos CEO Enric Rojas said. “We are going to try again to do another adjustment, a bit of an evolution, for having four different cities hosting the group stage, and then going to a neutral city for playing the final part of the competition.

“We think that with that small adjustment and evolution we are going to have even more fan engagement and more people in the arenas because of having four cities with extra home interest,” he said. “It’s going to give us, in our view, the final piece of becoming a real successful event and the real World Cup of Tennis.”

Organisers fell short of confirming a deal with Abu Dhabi to become the neutral host city.

ITF president David Haggerty said: “We have a preferred city that has a vision that we have, that we share together, for Davis Cup, continuing to build on that competition”.

“That’s one of the main ingredients,” Haggerty said. “We’ll be leaving behind a legacy in all four cities that have the group stage as well as the preferred city that will have the finals. ”

Some players and team captains had expressed concerns about travelling to the UAE late in the year.

“I have the feeling after speaking to many players and captains and federations that the noise that we are hearing is because of Abu Dhabi or because other things, that that noise will happen always irrespective of whatever you do,” Rojas said.

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev, who won all his five singles matches for Russia, said the value of the event remains.

“It’s still Davis Cup,” Medvedev said. “We still see Novak playing. Rafa won it last time. No matter the format, the best players in the world (are) happy to represent their country.”

With AP

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