The amount of tennis news happening off the court right now is … off the charts.
But on Friday, another merger of interests occurred as the Laver Cup, which is to hold its third edition in Geneva in September, announced a formal association with the ATP Tour.
(The ATP Tour, don’t forget, already has the ATP Cup, a team event, planned to kick off in Australia in January).
The September event will now officially “be part of the ATP Tour calendar”, the press release states. And it will now “have access to ATP services, including marketing and social media, along with operational personnel such as officials and physios.”
The Laver Cup seems to have done just fine on the marketing and social media side already. And certainly it had top-level professional umpires happy to make some extra coin.
Tony Godsick, who is Roger Federer’s agent and the head of the Team8 agency that created the event, is happy for the ATP’s blessing.
“The Laver Cup team is incredibly excited about this partnership with the ATP. It has always been our hope to build the Laver Cup in partnership with the tennis world, and certification by the ATP after only two editions is an overwhelming validation of our vision,” he is quoted as saying.
Part of the calendar
It’s hard to know exactly how this will benefit the Laver Cup, practically speaking. The press release is glowing with excitement, but short on actual details.
Such as: will they rename it the “ATP Laver Cup”?
Obviously it will get some push in the Tour’s social media and website areas. But it’s not as though the exhibition event has had problems selling tickets so far.
Of course, Roger Federer is the big driver for the event, and he’s not going to play forever.
There’s no mention of the tournament offering any ATP Tour ranking points. And indeed, the format itself would make that rather complicated. And, certainly, the event will continue to offer big appearance money that will mean it has an advantage over the regular ATP tournaments that week.
And the notion that the ATP would sanction an exhibition event is definitely a new direction.
It’s also difficult to tell how the regular ATP Tour events that week, which are in St. Petersburg, Russia and Metz, France, will appreciate all the fans of men’s tennis knowing that most of the biggest stars of the game will be at an ATP Tour-sanctioned exhibition – and not playing at their tournaments.
But obviously it’s a move that benefits both sides – or they wouldn’t do it.