BERLIN - World number one Rafael Nadal says the existence of two global team events events at opposite ends of the calendar in tennis is too confusing and has raised a query about merging the Davis Cup and ATP Cup together.
Nadal won his fifth Davis Cup title with Spain last November on home soil in Madrid and six weeks later, he led Spain to the ATP Cup final against Novak Djokovic's Serbia on Sunday, which Spain lost 2-1 in a deciding doubles match.
For scheduling reasons, Nadal thinks the two competitions need to collaborate and organise one event that is more suitable for the players and the fans.
"Is a long competition. Is a tough way to start the season," said the 33-year-old.
"I think it is a great competition, but at the same time I can't change my mind that two World Cups in one month is not real. So is not possible."
The traditional Davis Cup has been running since 1900 taking place over the course of the tennis calendar.
However in 2019, investment from organisers the ITF and a 25-year deal with Spanish marketing group Kosmos, the event was condensed into a one-week long tournament with 18 teams in one venue.
The new ATP Cup with 24 teams, who qualified based on their number one singles player's ranking, took place across three cities in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.
Both tournaments had matches where they overran into the early hours of the next day and in one tie against Belgium at the ATP Cup, Nadal found himself playing over nearly five straight hours.
The 19-time grand slam winner Nadal could only see one solution.
"We need to find a way to fix it and we need to find a way to make a big deal with ITF and ATP to create a big World Team Cup competition," he said.
"And for the health of our sport and for the benefit of our sport it is, in my opinion, mandatory that we fix it."
Djokovic said winning the ATP Cup with Serbia was "the best experience of his career."
And as a tournament bonus, by beating Nadal in singles 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) to remain unbeaten across six matches, he will go into the Australian Open, which starts on January 20, with 750 additional ranking points.
Djokovic, who is the President of the ATP Players Council, like his rival Nadal, suggested a merger for "one super World Cup event" back at the ATP Cup's beginning.
"If the two sides, the ITF, the Davis Cup, and the ATP get together very quickly, it can happen possibly for 2022," said Djokovic.
"I hope it will happen because it's kind of hard to get top players to commit to play both events."
"And it's six weeks apart," he added. " They're not really helping each other in terms of marketing, in terms of the value of the event, and so forth."