Day Before The ATP World Team Cup Launches, Players Call For Unity And Shorter Seasons - UBITENNIS
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Day Before The ATP World Team Cup Launches, Players Call For Unity And Shorter Seasons

The ATP is set to launch their newest tournament, but how well will be received by both fans and players?

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On Thursday the ATP’s planned revival of the World Team Cup will gain momentum when they conduct a special presentation in London.

 

From 2020, men’s tennis will have a new team competition in a move that has been perceived by some as one of the biggest threats of all time to the 118-year-old Davis Cup. Held at the start of each year in Australia, players will be enticed to the event with the offering of both prize money and ranking points. A situation that has caused a war of words between the governing body of men’s tennis and the ITF, who is in charge of the Davis Cup.

“I think majority really cares about this sport deeply, whoever is involved. Sometimes our differences get in the way.” World No.1 Novak Djokovic told reporters on Wednesday.
“The ATP, ITF, they’re two different independent associations, federations. Then you have obviously Grand Slams that operate independently, as well, as a separate entity.
“It’s not as easy. That’s how the system has been created and has been functioning for so many years. So we have to try to work with it.”

Details about the upcoming presentation from the ATP are limited. Both the head of the ATP, Chris Kermode, and the head of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, will be present. There will also be a group of players attending, including Djokovic himself. According to an official statement.

Leading up to what will be an important day for the ATP, they are keen to avoid any controversy or criticism. Unfortunately for them, their structure as an organization has come under fire. Ironically by their No.1 player Djokovic.

“I think the structure of the ATP specifically can be better.” He said. “I don’t think it’s working very well. It’s a slow process. But at the same time I can definitely say from my own experience of being in the players council earlier in my career, and now again for last four years, that this last players council group has been very active, proactive, in terms of communicating with each other, in terms of caring about everything that is going in the sport.”

Calls for change

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Djokovic isn’t alone in pointing out problems with the tour. Alexander Zverev repeated his previous statements that the calendar is too long. Following his lost at The O2 on Wednesday, he admitted that he hasn’t been feeling his best for ‘two months.’ The German last reached a final of the tour at the Washington Open in August.

“The issue is that our season is way too long. That’s the issue. I’ve said it before. We play for 11 months a year. That’s ridiculous. No other professional sport does that.” He stated.

It is for that reason why the 21-year-old has already ruled himself out of the new Davis Cup finals extravaganza. In 2019 18 teams will participate in a week-long tournament at the end of November.

The motion of two team competitions occurring at the same time, not counting the Hopman or Laver Cup, will work is one that divides opinion. Especially if they take place in November and January. Although Djokovic has said that he believes in the future they may be combined into one event. Providing the different stakeholders can sort out their disagreements.

“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. Whether I think that’s good for our sport, I honestly don’t think it’s good for the sport.” Djokovic commented.
“More job opportunities for players, yes. But I think it’s not sustainable. It will happen that we will have two average events. So I think creating one event is an ideal scenario and I think the outcome for everyone.
“From what I’ve heard from conversations with people from all of the sides, different sides in this sport, they all want to have one event because it’s over-saturated with different cups, different events.”

There has been no official comment concerning the future scedulling on the tour and its tournaments from the governing bodies of tennis beyond 2020.

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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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