Novak Djokovic described winning the ATP Cup with his fellow countrymen as “one of the nicest moments” of his career.
But the increased workload on a number of stars ahead of the Australian Open hasn’t left all participants with a sunny disposition.
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Australian young gun Alex de Minaur remains a day-to-day proposition as he nurses an abdominal strain, while world number one Rafael Nadal pulled out of Spain’s doubles decider in the final because he was exhausted.
Even Djokovic, who was so enamoured with the event, withdrew from the Adelaide to better prepare for the Australian Open.
Simon Briggs, writing for , suggested players may have overexerted themselves at the ATP Cup because of the team environment where the slogan of the event was “For the Love of Country”.
“The worry … is that such a demanding introduction to the season could result in short-term injury worries as well as longer-term exhaustion over the coming weeks and months,” Briggs said.
“What makes the scenario all the more concerning, from a player-health perspective, is that the off-season was shortened this year by the addition of another new team competition: the new-look Davis Cup finals week which finished on November 24, just under six weeks before the start of the ATP Cup.”
Briggs said “one way of reducing players’ workloads” was through introducing “super tie breaks in all the matches, rather than just the doubles”, but that players had been opposed to such a format.
That was before injury and fatigue had kicked in.
“Some sceptics objected to rankings points and generous prize money being handed out for short-form matches – especially those who did not expect to be invited to the party,” Briggs said.
“Next time around, we can expect the best interests of the sport to win out over such curmudgeonly complaints.”
The ATP Cup was the third team competition in 114 days, with he Laver Cup and Davis Cup Finals also recently scheduled.
While that it was a “congested run of men’s team events” the “overall takeaway is the affirmation that team tournaments provide a dimension of drama that is often beyond the conventional weeks on the calendar”.
Nadal has already urged the tennis world to somehow morphy the Davis Cup and ATP Cup because of their similarities and proximity, with Dickson echoing those sentiments.
“Many fans won’t be bothered by (the ATP Cup’s) proximity to the Davis Cup event, but the sensible way forward remains some kind of merger that would make one blockbuster event,” he said.