New tennis era kicks off with $20m ATP Cup
The ATP Cup - tennis' innovative new team championship - kicks off the men's 2020 season tomorrow, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic among those looking for a winning start ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.
The Jan 3-12 tournament will see 24 nations split into six groups across three Australian cities, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin to compete in a knockout phase.
It is the sport's newest tournament and the third men's team event competing for the hearts and minds - and dollars - of fans, along with a revamped Davis Cup and the annual Laver Cup, which pits Europe against the rest of the world.
But it has already suffered setbacks, with major drawcard Roger Federer opting to give it a miss and Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori pulling out injured.
Despite this, world No. 2 Djokovic said the move towards more team tennis was good.
Said the Serb, who also heads the ATP player council: "This is going to bring together a lot of nations and, for me personally, it will be a very nice and proud moment to represent my country."
Sydney hosts the finals, along with group games, which are also held in Brisbane and Perth with US$15 million (S$20.2m) in prize money and up to 750 singles and 250 doubles ATP rankings points at stake.
However, Denis Shapovalov has called on the organisers of the Davis Cup Finals and the ATP Cup to work together to create one world championship, saying it felt "weird" to play two similar events back to back.
"A month ago, we played the world championship and now it feels like we are playing another one," he said. - AFP, REUTERS