The ATP World Cup Farce

You may have noticed Stefanos Tsitsipas on the promotional posters for the ATP World Cup and yet why would he be? If you follow the criteria as it currently is, he doesn’t have a team to play with.

However due to the recently announced ranking changes he soon will. Want to know what top talent he’ll be working with? Read on.

Let’s look firstly at the qualifying criteria:

How does a country qualify for the ATP Cup and which of its players get to play? 

A minimum of three ATP ranked players, including two members with singles ATP Ranking points, are required for a country to be eligible to qualify. 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.
This is followed by:
How will entries work?
At the first entry deadline (13 September), a country will gain acceptance into the event based on the singles ATP Ranking of the country’s No. 1 singles player. The qualifying country’s second-highest-ranked singles player will gain acceptance at the same time.

Effectively what this means is a country like Greece (once the rankings changes are introduced) are guaranteed to qualify for the tournament on the basis of Tsiptsipas’ ranking; despite the fact that there will likely not even be another Greek player within the ATP top 500. However, provided they have but even a single point, that’s enough to allow them to play at what will be a showcase event for the ATP.

As it stands, no other Greek player has an ATP ranking, but as I mentioned this will change once the ITF ranking points are converted into ATP points. For example, his brother Petros, a player who has two main draw wins at the Futures level in the last year, will be able to compete because he’ll have a grand total of 2 ATP points to his name.

However if entrants are decided based solely upon their ranking, i e. they get in directly if they’re the next highest person in the nation, as opposed to being chosen Davis Cup style, then Greece has three players ahead of Petros. You could therefore potentially see a team of Michail Pervolarakis, Alexandros Skorilas, Ioannis Stergiou and Petros Tsitsipas supporting the world number 6.

Are Greece alone in this? Not at all. Let’s look at Nikoloz Basilashvili. Again, he’s the only Georgian with an ATP ranking, but with the changes he could end up playing alongside George Tsivadze and Alekandre Metreveli.

Quite what the paying public may think if forced to watch Pervlorakis v Tsivadze, I don’t know.

The sums of money aren’t insignificant either. The ATP itself has recognised there are going to be players ranked below 300 which is why they created tiered prize money based on your ranking.

Appearance fee money is as follows:

Ranking Fee
1-10 $200,000
11-20 $150,000
21-30 $75,000
31-50 $60,000
51-100 $45,000
101-200 $30,000
201-300 $20,000
301+ $15,000
For 22 year old Michail Pervolarakis with career earnings of $22,739, $15,000 in appearance money represents quite the bonus.

Tickets won’t be cheap. Quite what value for money some will feel they’ve gotten when they see some of the potential matches that could be created is beyond me.

It’ll be hailed as a roaring success. I know it and so do you. But in an ideal world people should boycott the event and force the ATP to work with the ITF to preserve and improve the Davis Cup.

I know that won’t happen, but a man can dream, right?

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