ATP Cup format, groups, seedings and all you need to know

The 2020 tennis season will begin with the Association of Tennis Professionals’ first sanctioned team tournament since 2012 – the ATP Cup.

The ATP Cup is a 24-nation team tournament that will take place in Australia from January 3-12.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The 2020 tennis season will begin with the Association of Tennis Professionals’ first sanctioned team tournament since 2012 – the ATP Cup. And in a first, on-court coaching will be allowed at an ATP Tour event.

The new tournament replaces the annual Hopman Cup, and it also displaces the Brisbane International from the ATP Tour as the city is one of three in Australia that will host the ATP Cup. (The Brisbane International will continue to be part of the Women’s Tennis Association Tour.)

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Here’s all you need to know about the new competition.

What is the ATP Cup?

The ATP Cup is a 24-nation team tournament that will take place in Australia from January 3-12. The group stage of the 10-day event will be played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, with the latter hosting the knockout rounds.

How do the teams qualify for the tournament?

On September 13, the top 18 teams were announced based on the singles ATP ranking of each country’s No. 1 singles player. This means that Serbia is the first seed at the tournament as Novak Djokovic was still world no. 1 at that time.

Australia, which is seeded 18th, was handed a wild-card entrance as the host. The remaining five teams were announced on November 13 based on the rankings.

A country needs to have at least two players in the ATP singles rankings to be eligible to qualify. Each team can comprise of a minimum of three players and a maximum of five. In case of the latter, the teams must have at least three players in the ATP singles rankings.

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What is the format of the tournament?

The teams have been divided into six groups of four each that will play a round-robin format. The winners of each group and the two best second-placed teams will qualify for the quarterfinals in Sydney.

What is the format of each tie?

Each tie in the tournament will consist of three matches – two singles and one doubles. The first team to win two matches will be declared winners of the tie. Each tie will begin with the country’s No. 2 players squaring off in the singles. It will be followed by the No. 1s in the next singles match. The doubles match will be played even if a team loses its first two matches.

The singles matches will be best-of-three sets, including tie-breaks. In doubles, there will be no ad scoring – where player is required to win a game by a minimum of two points – and the third and deciding set will be a tie-break.

What’s up for grabs?

A total prize money of AU$22 million or US$15 million.

A player who remains undefeated throughout the tournament will earn 750 ATP ranking points. A doubles player can win a maximum of 250 points.

What’s new?

For the first time, on-court coaching will be allowed at an ATP Tour event – for the team captain, a player’s individual coach and fellow team members.

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The groups (Seeding)

A: Serbia (1), France (9), South Africa (14), Chile (20)

B: Spain (2), Japan (7), Georgia (13), Uruguay (22)

C: Belgium (10), Great Britain (17), Bulgaria (19), Moldova (23)

D: Russia (3), Italy (8), United States (15), Norway (24)

E: Austria (4), Croatia (11), Argentina (12), Poland (21)

F: Germany (5), Greece (6), Canada (16), Australia (18)

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