Sydney: A new mixed-sex $15 million tournament featuring teams from 18 nations playing matches across three Australian cities will kick off the 2023 international tennis season, Tennis Australia announced on Friday.
The inaugural edition of the United Cup, which replaces the short-lived ATP Cup men’s team event, will launch on December 29 this year and run through to the final in Sydney on January 8.
Brisbane and Perth will also host round robin matches in the group stage of the tournament, which will offer ATP and WTA ranking points to the four men and four women on each national team.
The competition is the latest attempt to create compelling content for fans at the start of the year when the cream of the world’s tennis talent is in Australia preparing for the year’s opening Grand Slam.
The ATP Cup, a joint venture between Tennis Australia and the men’s tour which ran for three years, boasted big prize money and high-profile names but failed to attract crowds and struggled with logistical challenges during the Covid crisis.
The more popular Hopman Cup mixed-sex team tournament ran in Perth at the start of the year from 1989 to 2019 but was axed to make way for the ATP Cup.
The new tournament also reflects the growing cooperation between the men’s and women’s tours, which have made moves towards streamlining the governance of the game since the global health crisis heavily disrupted the 2020 season.
“The United Cup marks a major step forward for the game of tennis,” ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi said.
“We’re excited to see the best men’s and women’s players competing together, with ranking points on the line, to launch the season like never before.”