Did Rafael Nadal’s advice prompt changes in the United Cup format?

Months before the maiden edition of the United Cup in January 2023, tennis fans had praised the organizers (tennis Australia) for featuring both genders and ATP-WTA players in the same tournament. But it was hampered by drama; players withdrew days before the tournament started and after, complaining about convoluted schedules and ties that were played for nothing.

Rafael Nadal was among the tennis players to call for an overhaul of the United Cup after subsequently skipping the last game because the tie meant very little given that Spain had lost to England and Australia.

Nadal advice for United Cup

Rafael Nadal, 37, a 22-time grand slam winner, called for an overhaul of the nascent United Cup tournament after his Spanish side crashed out on the second day of the competition. The United Cup tournament debuted in Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane and proved to be more miss than hit with player withdrawals, a convoluted schedule, and ties that count for nothing.

Nadal gave his opinions on the tournament’s format. “Putting things in perspective (for) this competition, I find a negative point,” Rafael Nadal said. “Competition is great. The idea is great. It’s not great that today we are playing for nothing. It’s the first year of this competition, so that’s the kind of thing that we need to fix, to improve, and to make it more interesting for everyone.”

United Cup
via CNN

“I really believe that in a group of three, the loser of the first tie needs to play with the team that hasn‘t played yet, because that makes the competition much more interesting. I don‘t think it is good for the competition that today we are playing against Australia, both of us being out of the tournament,” Nadal said.

“That will not happen if the country who didn‘t play at the beginning played with the loser of the first day, all the matches gonna make sense,” Nadal added. Nadal subsequently skipped the mixed doubles against Great Britain but said he would have played if it meant getting a point that could have helped the cause if the Australia tie was a live one.

What specific changes are made to the United Cup format?

The United Cup has changed their format for 2024 by featuring fewer matches than the inaugural edition and will take place in only two host cities, organizers said on Friday. The 2023 United Cup, which was won by the United States, was held in Perth, Sydney, and Brisbane and saw teams playing two men’s and two women’s singles matches as well as a mixed doubles match.

In January, Spain’s Rafa Nadal urged organizers to tweak the format to ensure there were fewer dead rubbers, and the next edition is set to have ties featuring just one men’s and one women’s match, followed by a mixed doubles match. The singles matches will feature the top-ranked players from each country and each tie will be determined in one session.

ATP Cup 2023
via events.com.au

Brisbane will no longer be staging matches, leaving Sydney and Perth as the hosts. As in the inaugural event, 18 countries will be split into six groups of three. “We saw this year how passionate and intense the crowds were in supporting the United Cup – it was tennis at its very best,” United Cup tournament director Stephen Farrow said.

The 2024 United Cup will run from Dec. 29-Jan. 7. What are your predictions? Make sure to drop the in the comments section.

Victor Okechukwu

219 articles


Leave a Comment