London - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have backed a new
men's team competition just a day after the Serbian raised concerns over the
timing of the event, which will take place shortly after the revamped Davis
The ATP Cup, announced by the ATP and Tennis Australia on
Thursday during the ATP Finals in London, will be played from 2020 across three
Australian cities over 10 days in the lead-up to the Australian Open, the first
Grand Slam of the year, which starts in January.
It will offer $15 million in prize money and up to 750 ATP
Rankings points to the winners.
"I like that it's owned by ATP, by the players, and
that we have ranking points, and it's going to be the best way to kick-start
the season," said world number one Djokovic.
"More than 90 percent of the time we're playing as
individuals and we don't have too many team events."
Federer was upbeat about the new event and said the Davis
Cup would not suffer.
"Clearly if the World Team Cup is going to be held,
players will want to play that first week of the year, so you would think it's
going to be exciting," the Swiss said after reaching the last four of the
ATP Finals in London.
"The Davis Cup has incredibly rich history. You would
think the players are going to play that. From that standpoint, I think there's
not that much change, per se, or more tournaments on the calendar. It just
happens that there's more team events, which I think the players are happy
The comments from Djokovic, who is president of the ATP
player council, were in sharp contrast to views he voiced the previous day,
when he said having two similar team tournaments so close together would not be
sustainable, also expressing concerns over the length of the tennis season.
"I think in the next two years we'll have both events
happening in a very similar format if not the same, six weeks apart," he
"I honestly don't think it's good for the sport... It
will happen that we will have two average events."
A revamped Davis Cup tournament will take place from
November 2019, bringing together 18 nations in one place for a week at the end
of the season.
The Davis Cup is run by the ITF, the governing body of world
tennis, while the ATP, which runs the men's Tour, will stage the ATP Cup.
Earlier this week, world number five Alexander Zverev said
almost all the top players would skip the Davis Cup.
"The Davis Cup has some serious issues to think about,
I think," he said.
"One of them is the dates. I think the dates are very
important and I think none of the top players will play, except Rafa (Rafael
Nadal) because it's in Spain. I'm very, very sure that a lot of top players
will not play. We'll see how it goes."
The format of the ATP Cup will see nations split into six
groups, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin stage to compete in the
There will be up to five players in each team, with ties
comprising two singles matches and one doubles match.