LOS ANGELES - Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus will welcome the 2020 season with complete live coverage of the new ATP Cup, a tournament-of-nations battle that features the United States and 23 other countries in Australia Jan. 2-12. Including all-time greats Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia, 25 of the world's top 30 singles players will compete in an inaugural clash for worldwide recognition. The action gets underway Thursday, Jan. 2, at 5:30 p.m. ET with a 16-and-a-half-hour ATP Cup telecast on the network and streaming matches on Tennis Channel Plus.
In all, Tennis Channel will air more than 100 hours of live ATP Cup coverage on television during the 11-day event, with another 50 hours of encores (complete schedule is below). Subscribers to streaming-service Tennis Channel Plus will be able to watch matches on-demand, and live during select television windows.
Hosted in the Australian cities of Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, the first ATP Cup will feature national teams of three-to-five players each. Countries are grouped into six groups of four, with each squad guaranteed three matches against each of the others in its group. Group winners and two second-place teams will advance to the quarterfinals, with the event progressing under a single-elimination format at that point until one champion remains.
Former tennis player and Emmy Award-winning journalist Mary Carillo will be on hand as anchor and announcer during Tennis Channel's coverage of the first ATP Cup. During the week-and-a-half competition Carillo will share duties with announcers Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) and Russ Thaler (@RussThaler). Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) is part of the network's team of ATP Cup analysts, along with renowned coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone) and fellow former players Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin) and Jan-Michael Gambill (@JanmikeGambill). Erin Coscarelli @erincoscarelli) and Dani Klupenger (@daniklup) will share hosting duties for the channel, while former player Prakash Amritraj (@PrakashAmritraj) will report from Down Under.
"Team competitions bring a whole new level of pressure," said Annacone. "I can't wait to see the drama unfold at the ATP Cup. The viewers on Tennis Channel will have a front-row seat right next to us as we call the matches."
The United States is one of 24 nations that will contend for the inaugural ATP Cup. The others are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay.
Essentially a New Year's all-star week for tennis fans, all but two of the sport's top 10 singles players will compete in the 2020 ATP Cup. Joining future Hall of Famers Nadal (World No. 1) and Djokovic (No. 2) are Russia's Danil Medvedev (No. 5), Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 6), Germany's Alexander Zverev (No. 7), Italy's Matteo Berrettini (No. 8), Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut (No. 9) and France's Gael Monfils (No. 10). Further, the two top-ranked singles players from all 24 countries plan to represent their nations in the event. The tournament will award ATP Rankings points based on players' performances.
The United States team includes John Isner (No. 19), Taylor Fritz (No. 32), Reilly Opelka (No. 36), Rajeev Ram (No. 24 doubles) and Austin Krajicek (No. 42 doubles). Isner won his 15th ATP singles title in Newport, Rhode Island, in July and last year achieved his best performance at a major in reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon. This year Fritz advanced to the third round at the Australian Open before falling to former World No. 1 Roger Federer and earned his maiden ATP singles title in June in Eastbourne, England. Opelka clinched his first singles title at February's New York Open.
Ram and doubles partner Joe Salisbury captured titles in Dubai in February and Vienna in October. Krajicek and doubles teammate Dominic Inglot collected their second championship this year by defeating future Hall of Famers Bob and Mike Bryan in Atlanta.
The Americans are part of Group D in Perth and will compete against Norway, Russia and Italy. The U.S. ATP Cup team will play Norway Thursday, Jan. 2, at 9 p.m. ET; Russia Sunday, Jan. 5, at 4:30 a.m. ET; and Italy Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 4:30 a.m. ET.
Many ATP Cup contenders feature rosters with the same stars who played in the 2019 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid last month. Davis Cup champion Spain, for example, heads into the ATP Cup tournament with four of the five players that helped it capture the title in Madrid.