A new tournament will kick off the 2023 ATP and WTA seasons after the creation of the United Cup. The cup is a mixed team event and will feature both male and female players in an exciting innovation for equality in sport. Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will welcome players from 18 nations during the lucrative event that will replace the men’s ATP Cup as the key build-up tournament before the Australian Open.
Players are raving about the opportunities the new event will provide. Three-time grand slam winner and former world number one Andy Murray believes the event is a chance to showcase tennis’ strength in equality, “We’re the only global sport where men and women compete at the same venues, which is something very special about our sport and something to be celebrated. Big events like this will help,” he said. “I love to see the men and women competing together. It’s something I’m very excited about.”
The United Cup will have many fans reminiscing about the Hopman Cup. The highly successful mixed team tournament was held in Perth for 30 years but disbanded after the 2019 season. The United Cup follows a similar structure to its predecessor as players will represent their nations in a mixed team format. Australian fans will have high hopes going into the new tournament, as the Australian team has won the Hopman Cup twice in the events history, most recently in 2016. Despite the similarities the United Cup is not identical to the Hopman Cup, with some key differences that make the event all the more exciting.
The new tournament will feature some important changes from the Hopman Cup that will entice players and create a lucrative event to start the season. ATP and WTA ranking points are on offer, as well as prize money. The Hopman Cup did not include these factors which will play an important role in luring in top talent.
Players are excited about the event. Nick Kyrgios, who won the Hopman Cup in 2016, said the new tournament is a great initiative. “I have some great memories. I obviously won Hopman Cup one year and it was probably one of the cooler memories of my career. So I think it’s going to be a good event,” Kyrgios said.
Former Australian player Casey Dellacqua said, “It’s an exciting opportunity for our sport. It’s the first time we’ll bring the men’s and women’s tours together for a global team event offering huge prize money and big rankings points. It’s wonderful innovation for the game of tennis and it will be a blockbuster start to the summer of tennis.”
How will the United Cup work?
The United Cup is a massive expansion from previous mixed tournaments like the Hopman Cup. The United Cup will feature 18 teams representing nations from every continent. Each team will include four men and four women. Players will compete in singles and doubles matches in a mixed format. Tournament matchups between teams will be comprised of two men’s and two women’s singles matches and one mixed doubles match.
Unlike other mixed international tournaments, both ATP and WTA ranking points will be up for grabs. The players on the winning team will receive 500 ranking points in an important draw for top level talent. $15 million is on the line in prize money, making the event the most lucrative tournament in tennis outside of the four grand slams.
The 18 competing teams will be split into six groups of three. Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will all host two groups in a round robin group stage. The six group winners will then play for a spot in the semi-finals to be held in Sydney. That leaves an odd number, as the first knockout stage includes six teams, there will only be three winners. The best of the knockout stage losing teams will get a second chance, entering the semi-finals as a lucky loser. The semi-finals and final will be played in Sydney.
The draw for the United Cup will take place on November 10th. Tickets for the tournament will go on sale the next day. The venues for the event are the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, RAC Arena in Perth and the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney. The tournament will begin on December 29th this year, with the final played on January 8th 2023.