LONDON – South Africa, by virtue of Kevin Anderson's world No 8 ranking, are handsomely placed to land a berth in the inaugural 24-nation ATP Cup in Australia next January.
The competing countries will be determined by the ATP Ranking position of a country’s top-ranked singles player. As things stand now Serbia and Spain currently occupy the top two spots in the inaugural ATP Cup Standings, which are based on the ATP Ranking position of a country’s top-ranked singles player.
Novak Djokovic currently holds the top spot in the ATP Rankings with 12,355 points, while Rafael Nadal is in second place on 7,945 points.
The ATP Ranking is usually released on Mondays and after that, the provisional ATP Cup Standings will be determined. This will provide fans with an indication as to which players and teams are currently in contention to compete at the inaugural event from 3-12 January 2020.
Player/team participation will be subject to each player’s commitment to enter by the event’s two entry deadlines of 13 September (first 18 teams), or 13 November (remaining 6 teams).
The ATP Cup Standings will update each Monday that new ATP Rankings are released, giving fans weekly guidance on the teams and players most likely to be part of the blockbuster ATP Tour season opener from 3-12 January 2020.
“The ATP Cup Standings are already beginning to take shape and the players are excited to see this come to life,” said ATP Chief Player Officer, Ross Hutchins. “It’s going to be intriguing to see the countries battle in the coming months to earn their berths.
"On a weekly basis, fans can track which countries look like likely contenders and even which players have the best chance of being part of their respective teams.”
To appear on the ATP Cup Standings a country must have at least two players with an ATP singles ranking and at least one other player with a singles or doubles ranking. A country may have up to five players.
If a team has five players, at least three must have an ATP Singles ranking. If less than five players, a team must have at least two players with an ATP Singles ranking. The Standings enable fans to click and expand each selected country and see which players are leading the charge to represent their nation at the inaugural event.
The top 18 teams as of 13 September will be eligible to qualify for the tournament, which features US$15 million prize money and valuable ATP Rankings points. An additional six teams qualify at the second entry deadline of 13 November.
The 24 teams will be divided into six groups of four, with two groups each assigned to the three host cities: Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. The knockout stage, to be played in Sydney, will feature eight teams: the six group winners and the two best-performing second-placed teams.
The two highest-ranked singles players of the 18 teams to qualify at the first entry deadline will be eligible to compete. A country’s remaining team members shall be determined by their rankings at the second entry deadline.
The tournament will be hosted at Perth's RAC Arena, Brisbane's Pat Rafter Arena and the Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney Olympic Park, where the venue will undergo a massive redevelopment. Sydney has secured the knockout stages of the tournament through 2022.
Each tie comprises two best-of-three-sets singles and one doubles played under the regular ATP Tour doubles format (including no-ad points and a match tie-break in lieu of a third set). On-court coaching will be allowed during the change of ends and set breaks.
If Australia does not qualify at the first entry deadline, the host country will receive a wild card, leaving five qualifying spots open at the time of the second entry deadline.
An undefeated singles player could earn 750 ATP Rankings points; an undefeated doubles player could earn 250 points.
Players benefitting from an ATP Protected Ranking are also eligible to enter the ATP Cup ahead of either of the two entry deadlines, provided that the Protected Ranking is still valid at the time of the event. For example, this could potentially apply to Andy Murray (Great Britain) who currently has a protected ranking of 2.
African News Agency (ANA)