Djokovic, Nadal lead calls for ATP Cup, Davis Cup to merge

Novak Djokovic of Serbia attends a press conference ahead of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane. (AFP)
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Updated 02 January 2020

Djokovic, Nadal lead calls for ATP Cup, Davis Cup to merge

  • Djokovic’s first match in the ATP Cup will be against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson on Saturday

BRISBANE: Superstars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal said Thursday there was little point in having two men’s team tennis competitions so close together and suggested the new ATP Cup should merge with the Davis Cup.

The ATP Cup is about to kick off its inaugural edition, replacing a number of previous Australian Open warmup tournaments.

It comes six weeks after the revamped Davis Cup, which also has countries playing each other in a round-robin format, was held in Madrid.

Canadian Denis Shapovalov suggested Thursday that the two events — one run by the men’s tour, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the other by the International Tennis Federation —  should combine.

“It’s a really similar event and it’s literally back-to-back from the other one, so it’s a little bit of a weird sensation coming from what felt like the world championships coming to play another world championship,” Shapovalov said.

“So for me I don’t see why they, the ATP and ITF can’t combine, can’t join, can’t come to some agreement and make just one, really unique and special tournament for everyone.”

When asked about the Canadian’s comments, Djokovic, who heads the ATP players’ council, agreed.

“We need to have one Super World Cup event, whatever you want to call it,” he said.

“That’s not going to happen next year as well. But if the two sides, the ITF, the Davis Cup, and the ATP get together very quickly, it can happen possibly for 2022.

“I hope it will happen because it’s kind of hard to get top players to commit to play both events, the Davis Cup and the ATP Cup.

“And it’s six weeks apart, so they’re not really helping each other in terms of marketing, in terms of the value of the event.”

Djokovic’s concerns were shared by world No. 1 Nadal, who also questioned the timing of the events.

“Yeah, it’s confusing to have two World Cups of tennis in one month. For me personally that’s not the ideal situation for our sport, but that’s how it works today,” he said in Perth.

Asked if the two should be combined into one world championship, he replied: “I think that tennis deserves something like this.”

France’s Nicolas Mahut also said having two men’s team competitions was “too much.” 

“Obviously, we don’t need two competitions the same way. Two team competitions is too much,” he said.

Djokovic does not normally play in Australia before the year’s first Grand Slam in Melbourne, but he will use the ATP Cup to prepare for his attempt to win an eighth Australian Open crown.

“The Australian Open courts, Melbourne Park was always very suitable to my game, and I can’t wait to go back there,” he said.

“Obviously, that’s probably my most successful court in my career, in my life, so I love playing there.”

Djokovic’s first match in the ATP Cup will be against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson on Saturday, while Nadal is set to face Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili on the same day.

“For me, that is a tough start to the season,” said Nadal. “The great things, the only way to build important things is with daily work.

“So we (Spain) need to take care about our first tie against Georgia, and that’s the only thing that is in our mind, just try to be ready for this one.”


England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated 05 April 2020

England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

  • The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28
  • ECB’s centrally contracted women players to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June

LONDON: England’s centrally contracted male cricketers will donate £500,000 ($613,000) to the Board and charities while their women’s team counterparts have volunteered a three-month pay cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the players’ association (PCA) said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28 and speculation has been mounting over how their leading players would respond to the situation.

“Following a meeting today of all of the England men’s centrally contracted cricketers, the players have agreed to make an initial donation of £0.5 million to the ECB and to selected good causes ...” the Professional Cricketers’ Association said in a statement.

“This contribution is the equivalent of all of the England centrally contracted players taking a 20 percent reduction in their monthly retainers for the next three months.

“The players will continue to discuss with the ECB the challenging situation faced by the game and society as a whole and will consider how best to support the ECB and both the cricketing and wider community going forward.”

The ECB’s centrally contracted women players have volunteered to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June in line with their coaches and support staff.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can.

“We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks,” added Knight, who has signed up with the National Health Service (NHS) as a volunteer.

The ECB has announced a 61 million pounds aid package to help the local game withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is currently auctioning the shirt he wore in England’s 2019 World Cup final victory to raise funds for efforts to fight the coronavirus.