Another new World Cup of men's tennis so soon after the re-imagined Davis Cup? Here are the five things you need to know!
1. What is it?
In short, The World Cup of men's tennis. 24 national teams take part over ten days between 3 and 12 January 2020, in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Teams play both singles and doubles. As well as US$15 million prize money, each player can earn up to 750 ratings points. See the ATP website for answers to FAQs.
2. Why is it controversial
Where do we start! The event is, in part, the brainchild of outgoing ATP chief Mark Kermode whose on-the-face-of-it highly successful stewardship of the ATP is to end prematurely. The much-loved Hopman Cup (a men's and women's team event and the traditional curtain-raiser to the tennis year) is a casualty of the scheduling. Ousted in the tennis calendar by the ATP Cup, it may never return. The ATP Cup is seen by some as a deliberate attempt to undermine the new-style Davis Cup, though others see the new-style Davis Cup as an attempt to clip the ATP's wings. In the wider world, the event has been overshadowed by the tragic bush-fires that have caused so much damage in Australia and even threatened to affect the air-quality of some of the tennis events.
3. Who'S not there?
Roger Federer, Hopman Cup fan and its most-successful champion, won't be playing and nor will his compatriot, Stan Wawrinka. Both men publicly support the new event. Meanwhile Andy Murray has withdrawn because of injury (without his protected rating, Team GB may not have qualified).
4. How can I watch it?
Amazon Prime of course.
5. Who will win?
Here in Tennis Towers, we are rooting for the Tim Henman-captained Team GB (represented by Dan Evans, Cam Norrie and James Ward, along with doubles players Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray) as well as cheering on Rafa Nadal's Spain. After Rafa's heroic efforts to win the first of the new-style Davis Cups, who would bet against Spain landing the first ATP Cup?