Proposed plans for a brand new tournament category on the ATP Tour are underway, according to the director of the Swiss Open, Roger Brennwald.
Basel, Rotterdam, Dubai and Beijing has all joined forces in a bid to present the idea of a 750 series to the ATP Tour. Under the plan, those four tournaments would become fourth most important events on the tour after the Masters 1000 series, ATP finals and grand slam events.
“We decided to present an idea to the ATP that has been shared by Dubai, Rotterdam and Beijing. The creation of a category that would be between the Masters 1000 and ATP 500.” Said Brennwald during an interview with Swiss Tennis.
Currently there are 13 ATP 500 events on the tour. Basel has been categorized as a 500 event since the implementation of the system in 2009. Prior to that, it was rated as an International Series Gold tournament.
Branwald’s vision is part of his plan to develop the Basel tournament, which celebrated its 47th edition this year. Under the proposals, the main centre court at the St. Jakobshalle arena will be expanded to allow a seating capacity of 10,000 people. Swiss authorities are hoping their developments will be enough to secure the tournament’s future. Under a current agreement, the Swiss Indoors will be a regular feature of the ATP Tour until 2018. After that, officials will need to negotiate a new contract.
The Swiss Indoors might have ended last week, but they have already secured the attendance of Stan Wawrinka in 2017, who will once again be trying to win the title for their first time in his career. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are also likely to be playing according to Brennwald.
Not the first tournament with big ideas
Earlier this year a duo of Masters tournaments confirmed that they hope to elevate the status of their tournaments in the future to a brand new category. The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has previously held meetings with the ATP about the creation of a new ‘Super Masters’ event, which will see more prize money and ranking points up for grabs. Former tournament director, Raymond Moore, hopes the new event can take place from 2019.
“It could come in 2019 but not before as right now the system is set through 2018. So the next year or two the ATP and the WTA will begin to discuss a different format, maybe new categories and we look forward to that. And maybe we’d go to a 128 draw, right now we’re a 96 draw.” He said during an interview with French journalist Carole Bouchard.
Shanghai is the other tournament hoping to be promoted to the new level. Unlike Indian Wells, the Chinese tournament just features men’s tennis.
Similar to the ATP 750 proposal, both plans are yet to be approved by the ATP. It is uncertain if these plans will go ahead or not.
The Current structure of the ATP Tour
Grand Slam tournaments
ATP World Tour
ATP World Tour Finals
Masters 1000 series
ATP Challenger Tour
ITF Men’s Circuit (futures)
Tennis at the Olympics
Great Britain and Germany secure their spot in the quarter finals
Great Britain secured their spot in the quarter final of the Davis Cup at the Caja Magica in Madrid with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.
Kyle Edmund, who replaced Andy Murray, beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-3 in the first singles match. Edmund saved all the break points he faced and broke serve in the sixth game of the second set to take a 4-2 lead and converted his first match point when Kukushkin hit a forehand long.
Alexander Bublik came back from losing the first set to beat Dan Evans 5-7 6-4 6-1. Bublik broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 4-4. Evans rallied from 15-40 to break serve at deuce in the 12th game to take a 7-5 lead.
Bublik converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4 sending the second set 6-4. Bublik broke three times to clinch the third set 6-1.
Jamie Murray and Neal Stupski beat Mikhail Kukushkin and Alexander Bublik 6-1 6-4. Murray and Kukushkin cruised through to a 6-1 win in the first set before breaking twice in the second set. The British team secured the win on their second match point.
“We played a great match from start to finish. We started quickly, were aggressive and did not give them time to settle”, said Jamie Murray.
Germany set up a quarter final against Great Britain after beating Chile 2-1. Phillip Kohlschreiber beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-3 in the opening match. Christian Garin came back from losing the first set to beat Jan Lennard Struff 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) after saving three match points. Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies beat Barrios and Tabilo 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to secure Germany the decisive 2-1 win.
American No.3 Reilly Opelka Blasts ‘Shocking’ ATP Cup
The new event has been described as unfair and a embarrassment by the American.
With the Davis Cup currently under close scrutiny this week, one player on the tour have turned his criticism to a brand new team event coming to the tour in 2020.
Reilly Opelka has launched a verbal attack on the ATP Cup, which will get underway in January. The event features 24 teams playing in three cities across Australia. Unlike the Davis Cup, both prize money and ranking points are available. Many of the world’s top players have already confirmed their intention to play in the event. Although one noticeable absence will be Roger Federer.
“The ATP Cup is pathetic. I think it’s shocking on behalf of the ATP for them to pass that and allow that.” The 22-year-old told reporters in Madrid.
“It’s pretty embarrassing, actually. It’s pretty bad for the sport. It makes it (the tour) more top-heavy than it already is.”
The teams for the ATP Cup are determined by the ranking of the country’s highest ranked player. However, with only two singles players allowed to play in each team some countries find themselves in a tough spot. Once being America, who currently has eight players in the top 100. Opelka argues that due to the rules of the competition, the distribution of ranking points is unfair.
“I’m 35 in the world. I’m not going to play because I’m the second- or third-highest ranked American, and only the top two guys play.” He stated.
“It counts as an additional 19th tournament. So every player gets 18 tournaments on their ranking card. So you have to take your top 18 results, those go for your ranking. Those that play ATP Cup gets a 19th. So it’s unfair, there’s not equal opportunity for everyone.”
Opelka used the example of Moldova playing in the ATP Cup as one of the reasons why he is frustrated. The country has qualified due to the ranking of their top player Radu Albot, who is currently ranked 46th in the world. However, Moldova’s second highest ranked player is outside the top 800.
Fortunately concerning the Davis Cup, the former Wimbledon junior champion has a much more favourable view. This week is the inaugural week-long finals, which has encountered some blips already. The most being the schedule of the event with some ties now finishing until as late as 4am.
“I’m a fan of the new format. Maybe making it every two years or every three years would be I think the next step in the right direction.” Opelka concluded.
“Tennis players are pretty good at that. You don’t really know when you’re going to play matches. You can go really long, or you can go really quick. We’re used to being on standby.” He added.
This week is Opelka’s debut in the Davis Cup.
Dayana Yastremska Appoints Former Naomi Osaka Mentor As Coach
The youngster is hoping to build on her 2019 breakthrough next year with a new coach by her side.
Rising star Dayana Yastremska will head into the 2020 season under new guidance of the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year winner Sasha Bajin.
The 19-year-old confirmed her new coach in a Facebook post published on Thursday morning. Bajin is best known for his work with former world No.1 Naomi Osaka, who won two grand slam titles whilst working with him, as well as her first Premier title in Indian Wells. The two ended their collaboration shortly after the Australian Open earlier this year. Since then, Bajin briefly worked with Kristina Mladenovic before deciding to depart.
“I am very happy to share the news that I am starting the 2020 season with a new coach!” Yastremska wrote.
“I am extremely happy, and I am very excited to start our collaboration as it is going to be very interesting and impressive work. I am confident that he (Bajin) can help me in achieving my ambitions.’
“I’m Super excited for the beginning of our pre-season preparation and I am confident that everything works out!”
In recent weeks there has been speculation about the two joining forces on the tour. During the WTA Elite finals in China, the world No.22 was asked about the rumours concerning her team speaking with Bajin. However, at the time she dodged the question by replying ‘I would like to build a great team, but for now I won’t say anything about it.’
Yastremska has enjoyed her best season on the tour yet in his career and broke into the world’s top 30 back in September. She is currently at a career ranking high of 22nd. On the tour in 2019, the Ukrainian has clinched two WTA titles in Hua Hin and Strasburg. In the grand slams, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.
As of this week, Yastremska is one of only four players under the age of 20 who are in the world’s top 30.
Elsewhere on the WTA Tour there has been another development on the coaching front. Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber has confirmed that she will be working with Didi Kindlmann. A former hitting partner with Maria Sharapova, who have previously worked with Elise Mertens and Ajla Tomljanović. Kerber is currently ranked 20th in the world compared to 12 months ago when she was in second spot.
As much as I’ve enjoyed my time off, I’m excited to get back into training. Happy to announce that Didi Kindlmann will be joining my team as the new coach! Work starts here, and I‘m thankful for the people in my team that share the same vision moving forward! #TeamAngie pic.twitter.com/Y6p1YSppyq
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) November 21, 2019
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