Hopman Cup dream could rise from the ashes?
Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, who won the title last Hopman Cup.
A revived Hopman Cup could rise from the ashes with any consolidation of an increasingly crowded and incoherent worldwide tennis calendar.
At least that’s the hope of the International Tennis Federation as its experimental one-week Davis Cup Final comes to a close in Madrid.
The eight-nation mixed team Hopman died a death after more than three decades as it was sacrificed to allow the January ATP Cup to come to life.
The last two editions in Perth featured the knockout Swiss box office pair of Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic, who won the title at the last Hopman edition just 11 months ago and provided millions of valuable tourism publicity for Western Australia.
The ATP Cup which begins January 3 with preliminary rounds in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, was designed to combat the controversial one-week re-write of the classic Davis Cup, which was brought to life to up the ante in the prestige battle between the ATP and ITF.
The Davis competition has had teething problems this week in Spain, but the ITF is an arm’s length away having licensed the rights to a Spanish management company headed by a current footballer with limited tennis experience.
With a nudge from ATP Player Council president Novak Djokovic and others in the sport, plans are being formulated to try and break the bureaucratic logjam with a massive combined event for men and women in hopes of bringing a hint of rationality to a season which lasts from January to November for some.
With WTA boss Mickey Lawler recently offering support for a possible amalgamation of the men’s and women’s Tours, things could be starting to move in executive suite.
The ITF told BBC 5 Live that tentative plans for a “so-called” Majesty Cup are in the infant stages.
“We’ve just had expressions of interest from almost 10 cities that are keen to put on the Hopman Cup,” the ITF’s Kelly Fairweather said, adding that new Davis Cup organisers were eager to get on board to help with some of the estimated $58 million funding which would be required.
In addition to what could well be a popular Hopman revival, a winner-take-all event is being considered.
“A winner takes all with a big pot of prize money, that’s something that’s under discussion,” Fairweather added.
“The mixed team event has a huge amount of potential, and that’s something that we want to capitalise on.
“The calendar is probably the number one issue for everyone in tennis. It’s (scheduling) is not getting any easier by the addition of events.
“A year ago at the ATP Finals (London) we had some of these discussions, so we’re hoping to pick that up again. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for tennis to have one massive team event?
“Sport is so competitive anyway. I don’t think we should be really competing among ourselves.”
While Roger Federer has kept his distance form the condensed, best of three-set Davis Cup and is spending this week in a rich series of exhibitions in South America, Madrid participant Djokovic is taking a stand against holding two major event within six weeks of each other.
“Obviously we have to be sensitive to all different parties,” Fairweather said .”But if you’ve got Novak saying that, it hopefully opens the door for a discussion with the ATP.
“From an ITF point of view, wouldn’t it be fantastic to also have a joint men’s and women’s World Cup together? That would be sensational. It’s an ambition.”
Written by Bill Scott for Grandslamtennis.online. To read more visit grandslamtennis.online