Hopman Cup to end in Perth in favour of men only ATP Cup tournament
After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that the Hopman Cup will no longer be played in Perth, with the mixed tennis tournament to replaced by the new ATP men's tournament, with Perth, joining Sydney and Brisbane as one of the three host cities for the event.
The ATP first unveiled the new competition, which is set to compete with the revamped Davis Cup, back in November and Brisbane and Sydney were announced as host cities in January.
The event is due to start the men’s tennis season from next year, being staged ahead of the Australian Open.
Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley stated “the ATP Cup will launch the global tennis season for the men – this is their event, it means a lot to them and they’ve thrown their support behind it 100%.
“Four of the top 12 male players, and eight of the top 24, will play in Perth, with 24 teams competing across three cities – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.”
Hopman Cup founder and former tennis star Paul McNamee said it was a sad day to see the tournament finish after 31 years, but looked forward to it continuing in a new location.
McNamee told the ABC “(it was) a wonderful event that was embraced by Perth.
"Nothing could've been embraced by the people of the city more than Hopman Cup in Perth, so my immediate feeling is sadness that it's not going to be there anymore, and concern about where the Hopman Cup may be in the future."
McNamee said said this year's Hopman Cup had been a hugely successful way to end the tournament, adding “if there was a sign off, or a signature to say well, bye bye Hopman Cup, it was the fact that probably the two greatest players in the history of the sport, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, went on court at the Perth Arena and went head-to-head.
"Now that is just remarkable and something we all should say, well you couldn't get a better way to sign off the Hopman Cup than that."
While the Hopman Cup was a mixed tournament, the ATP Cup is a men only event.
There has been no confirmation about whether a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) fixture would be set up to allow international women's tennis to continue to be played in Perth.
When asked about his own personal highlights, McNamee went back to 1989 and 1992, recalling “just the first ball in the first tournament when Pat Cash played Jeremy Bates.
"To think we actually could start a big event in a city like Perth, in a sparkling new casino resort, it was just that feeling I'll never forget.
"And probably when Becker and Graf had their ill-fated match together, at that time that was bit like Federer and Serena.
"The team we had there and the love we kind of shared with Perth, I've seen a lot of sport around the world and it was completely unique."
Perth hosted the Hopman Cup for just over three decades as a mixed-team round-robin competition, where players from different countries competed.
It was used by players as a warm-up event ahead of Melbourne's Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the season.
Images: The Hopman Cup has been played at Perth's RAC Arena since its opening, with the venue to now host the ATP Cup (top) and Roger Federer has been a popular participant at the Hopman Cup in recent years (below).
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4th February 2019 - Adelaide’s redeveloped Memorial Drive Tennis Centre to host new tour event
7th January 2019 - Sydney to stage finals of new ATP Cup event
10th October 2018 - 2019 Australian Open prepares to showcase ‘worlds best’ player facilities
17th August 2018 - Majority of nations vote for new season-ending Davis Cup tournament
3rd July 2018 - Roger Federer to return to Perth for 2019 Hopman Cup
2nd July 2018 - ATP to launch World Team Cup event in Australia
25th November 2017 - Perth Arena welcomes 3.2 million patrons in five years
11th January 2017 - Record crowds secure Hopman Cup’s future in Perth
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