Learn How The ATP Cup 'Puts Doubles In The Main Spotlight'
ATP Cup ties could be decided by winner-takes-all doubles matches
The format of the ATP Cup places two singles matches at the start of each tie, and then a doubles match. So if two countries split their singles matches, it will all come down to the doubles. For the ATP Tour’s doubles stars, they’d have it no other way.
“This whole format, playing two singles and doubles potentially deciding the whole tie is great, and obviously then it puts doubles in the main spotlight. I think that's great,” said Marcin Matkowski, Team Poland’s captain and a 17-time tour-level doubles titlist. “The people here love doubles. If you have an important tie like that, they will come and support their team. Hopefully this week we will see some Polish community and Polish people coming to watch us and support, and I think it will be a great event.”
Jurgen Melzer reached the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings during his singles career, before transitioning his full focus to doubles at the end of 2018. So the Austrian is excited that the ATP Cup could put the discipline under the spotlight, with several ties figuring to come down to the doubles match.
“I think it's very important to have that opportunity for the doubles guys to play a decisive match and be in the spotlight and having that platform,” Melzer said. “It's not on an every-week basis that we have that, so we are looking forward [to it], and hopefully there will be a lot of close matches and some doubles that are decisive.”
Team Belgium is led by 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin. But its secret weapon could be the doubles team of Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who captured three ATP Tour titles together in 2019. They strongly believe in their country’s singles players, but are excited at the thought of potentially playing to give Belgium a tie victory under pressure.
“It's interesting. It's very nice. It's cool for us to be here to hopefully give our country and our team a deciding point,” Gille said. “I think it's an interesting system to just have the doubles as a deciding third match.”
Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury have different full-time partners. But as Great Britain’s two highest-ranked doubles players, they are teaming up to represent their country, with the potential to battle in a deciding match.
“I think we are really excited that it could come down to that, and we'll enjoy the opportunity if it does,” Salisbury said. “I think it's a great showcase for doubles.”
With that opportunity comes pressure, though. For the Brits, they will need to quickly gel in Sydney.
“You’ve got to be ready to compete. You know if you are playing [doubles in the Final Eight] then there’s a pressure match, it’s winner-takes-all,” Murray said. “So that’s exciting, and I obviously hope we get the opportunity to do that this week and be involved in matches like that with the atmospheres that we know can be created in team competitions and really looking forward to the week ahead. Should be a lot of fun, I think.”