New team event upsets Davis Cup organisers

SYDNEY • Organisers of the Davis Cup were critical of news that a revamped World Team Cup, a men's tennis event offering US$15 million (S$20.5 million) in prize money plus ranking points, would start in early 2020 in Australia.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), which organises the Davis Cup, said it would go ahead with plans to beef up its own tournament from next year and added that it already had plans to transform the premier international men's team event into an 18-team "world-class finale" at the end of the 2019 season.

Singapore is seen as one of the possible host cities.

The ITF expressed disappointment that the men's governing Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) had decided to go ahead with its new, 24-team event.

"We do feel that this was an opportunity missed by the ATP to work together with the ITF in a beneficial and positive way for the whole of tennis," the ITF said in a statement on Sunday.

Announcing the new World Team Cup earlier on Sunday, ATP president Chris Kermode said in a statement: "This event will enable us to kick off our season with a major team event, with minimal impact on existing player schedules at the start of the year."

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley hailed it as "an exciting new era in men's tennis".

The competition is likely to be a part of the build-up to the Australian Open, which begins in mid-January. A smaller World Team Cup was held from 1978 to 2012 in Dusseldorf, Germany. It offered no ranking points and suffered from being held a week before the French Open.

With an already crowded calendar, the ITF, which also runs the women's Fed Cup team event, said: "The continued success of Davis Cup is critical for our sport because the ITF is the only body reinvesting globally in the future development of tennis.

"It is the ITF, alongside our 210 member nations, that develops the pipeline of talent that competes on the men's and women's professional tours and that work relies on the investment created by Davis Cup."

It said ITF member nations would vote next month on the Davis Cup reforms, which addressed changes requested by the ATP player council. The ATP said details of its new event would be made public "in due course".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2018, with the headline 'New team event upsets Davis Cup organisers'. Print Edition | Subscribe