Cool change for cen­tre

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JO­CE­LYN AIRTH

THIS is the roof that will Syd­ney’s ten­nis wor­ries in the shade... lit­er­ally.

Ken Rose­wall Arena has been served a makeover, in­clud­ing a strik­ing all-weather roof, new video boards and 10,500 new seats have been in­stalled in prepa­ra­tion for Aus­tralia’s first ever ATP Cup next year.

The 10-day men’s tour­na­ment re­places the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional and will fea­ture ten­nis stars from 24 coun­tries, such as Andy Mur­ray, No­vak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Com­peti­tors will play as teams for their re­spec­tive coun­tries for $22 mil­lion in prize money and 750 ATP points.

Group games will be shared across Syd­ney, Perth and Bris­bane, and fi­nals will be played out at the re­vamped Ken Rose­wall Arena.

ATP Cup Syd­ney gen­eral man­ager Lawrence Robert­son said the new tour­na­ment is Syd­ney’s best kept secret.

“I’m not sure the public have grasped just yet the ex­tent of the changes that are com­ing to their sum­mer of ten­nis,” Robert­son said. “Pre­vi­ously it was a six-day com­bined event but now it’s a 10day event. Be­fore, we were play­ing for a prize pot of $2 mil­lion, now we’re play­ing for $22 mil­lion.”

Robert­son said a new com­pe­ti­tion was cru­cial to at­tract­ing mar­quee play­ers ahead of the Aus­tralia Open.

“We needed to pro­vide cer­tainty around play and a point in the cal­en­dar gives them an op­por­tu­nity to play be­fore the Aus­tralian open,” Robert­son said.

The Ken Rose­wall Arena has been fit­ted with a strik­ing new roof, which is de­signed to cope with both heat and rain.

The ATP Cup will be played Jan­uary 3-12, 2020.

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