Tennis Australia is reportedly in advanced talks to create a new women’s tournament, the WTA Cup, following in the footsteps of the inaugural men’s ATP Cup it is hosting this year.
The 2020 ATP Cup is serving as the season-opener for the 2020 ATP Tour and features players representing national teams competing on outdoor hard courts at venues in Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney.
Brisbane International tournament director Mark Handley said: “We are working with the tours to create an Australian summer of tennis that is an incredible global launch to the international tennis season. The ATP Cup is the first step in that and now we are in great talks with the WTA about a new concept and are really excited about the potential in this space.”
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley told ABC News: “It’s transformational in that we introduced the ATP Cup, which we can see the success of [already], but the women’s version is still in the planning stages. I spoke to the WTA chief executive Steve Simon this morning and we’re meeting in a couple of weeks … at the right time, we’ll announce what we’ve got planned for the women.”
Tiley said, “I’m excited for them because they’re keen … they’ve seen what’s happened on the men’s side. But it was not possible to do them at the same time because the planning for both was different.”
The move comes amid a row over scheduling at the ongoing women-only Brisbane International. Matches have been played at the outside courts of the Queensland Tennis Centre, while the ATP Cup, which is being held simultaneously at the same venue, using the best courts until the fourth day of the Brisbane International. Russia’s Maria Sharapova and America’s Sloane Stephens are among the players to have complained about the scheduling.
ABC News reported Sharapova as saying that, “you definitely recognise it and notice it (starting on outside courts), it feels like a little bit of a second-hand event. I think on Thursday the girls go back on centre court, but it’s definitely a bit of a strange strategic move. I think there’s a lot of girls that are deserving of that centre-court spot in this draw, I think there are six out of the world’s top-10 players in Brisbane.”