Australian cities Sydney and Brisbane have been announced as the first two host locations for the newest team event in men’s tennis.
The ATP Cup will feature on the calendar for the first time from January 2020.
A third city will be named at a later date to jointly stage matches for the inaugural edition of the tournament that has a total prize fund of $15 million.
“With more than 100 players from 24 nations vying for $15 million in prize money and 750 ATP Ranking points, the ATP Cup will help us launch the global tennis season every January in Australia,” said Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley.
Given the congested tennis schedule at the start of each year leading up to the Australian Open, the ATP are aware the ATP Cup will clash with some of its other tournaments. However, it remains confident that the addition of a prestige competition will be a welcome inclusion.
The format of the ATP Cup will see 24-nations split into six groups, with eight emerging to compete in a knockout phase.
Sydney, which will host the final, announced a $36 million upgrade of the Olympic Park Tennis Center venue on Friday, which includes putting a roof on the main showcourt.
Perth, which has hosted the mixed team Hopman Cup for the last 30 years, and Adelaide are the other cities likely to be in the running to host the group stage of the event.
“I reckon it’s awesome. I think this is the type of event tennis was crying for. You know it needs to be more entertaining, you need to try and get people who didn’t watch tennis to watch tennis.” said Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios.
The 24-team tournament is seen as a threat to the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) revamped 18-nation Davis Cup competition starting in Madrid in November this year.
“This is never an attempt to damage the Davis Cup, but we have got to look forward,” Chris Kermode, the ATP president told CNBC back in November. “I think they can run alongside each other. Other sports have shown you can have multiple team events. I think having them too close together is an issue, but I can see that being resolved at some point.”
The new ATP event also has major implications for the other men’s and mixed events in Australia and further afield, including the Qatar Open.
Those events have traditionally been used by players to prepare for the year’s first Grand Slam in Melbourne.