Ten­nis chiefs want new lu­cra­tive team event in Aus­tralia

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - WIMBLEDON 2018 - ELEANOR CROOKS

THE ATP are press­ing ahead with plans for a new team com­pe­ti­tion in Aus­tralia in Jan­uary in a move that casts into fur­ther doubt pro­pos­als to re­form the Davis Cup.

In a state­ment the gov­ern­ing body of men’s ten­nis an­nounced the ap­proval of the ATP World Team Cup, in part­ner­ship with Ten­nis Aus­tralia, which is set to take place at the start of the sea­son from Jan­uary 2020.

With 15m US dol­lars (£11.35m) in prize money, and rank­ing points avail­able, it is clear that the ATP in­tend to at­tract the best play­ers.

ATP ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and pres­i­dent Chris Ker­mode said: “We’re de­lighted to have reached this out­come, which will change the land­scape of the ATP World Tour.

“This event will en­able us to kick off our sea­son with a ma­jor team event, with min­i­mal im­pact on ex­ist­ing player sched­ules at the start of the year.

“We be­lieve this out­come will de­liver long-term sus­tain­abil­ity, not only fi­nan­cially but also from a player health per­spec­tive, which is crit­i­cal,” added Ker­mode.

“The event has huge po­ten­tial and we now look for­ward to work­ing to­gether with Ten­nis Aus­tralia in bring­ing our vi­sion to fruition.”

Speak­ing to the BBC in March, Ker­mode said the ATP and In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion stag­ing ri­val events within six weeks of each other would be “in­sane”, yet that could now hap­pen.

Fed­er­a­tions will vote at the ITF AGM in Au­gust on pro­pos­als to trans­form the Davis Cup, cul­mi­nat­ing in an 18-na­tion World Cup­style tour­na­ment at the end of the sea­son in Novem­ber.

The plans have been hugely con­tro­ver­sial and the prospect of two ma­jor team tour­na­ments so close to one an­other could make fed­er­a­tions who were plan­ning to vote for the pro­pos­als think again.

World No 2 Caro­line Woz­ni­acki claimed her sec­ond East- bourne ti­tle with vic­tory over Aryna Sa­balenka.

The Dan­ish top seed lim­bered up for Wim­ble­don with a 7-5 7-6 (7/5) vic­tory at the Na­ture Val­ley In­ter­na­tional.

Sa­balenka, from Be­larus, served for both sets and led 4-1 in the tie-break, but could not take her chances.

Aus­tralian Open cham­pion Woz­ni­acki, who has never made it past the fourth round at Wim­ble­don, will come up against Amer­i­can Var­vara Lepchenko in round one to­day.

In the men’s event Ger­many’s Mis­cha Zverev won the ti­tle with vic­tory over Lukas Lacko of Slo­vakia.

The 30-year-old Ger­man beat Lacko 6-4 6-4.

Zverev will now turn his at­ten­tion to Wim­ble­don, where he could face two-time win­ner Rafael Nadal in the third round.

At the An­talya Open in Turkey Damir Dzumhur came through a see­saw fi­nal to beat top seed Adrian Man­nar­ino.

The Bos­nian swept through the first set, crum­bled in the sec­ond, but took charge again in the third to run out a 6-1 1-6 6-1 win­ner against the French secod seed.

Dzumhur is the 27th seed at Wim­ble­don and faces Max­i­m­il­ian Marterer in round one.

CARO­LINE WOZ­NI­ACKI: Beat Aryna Sa­balenka at East­bourne to warm up for Wim­ble­don.

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