Infotainment Factory: Federer-Serena epic sparks global backlash

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Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Federer-Serena epic sparks global backlash


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Roger Federer and Serena Williams just provided the biggest moment in three decades of Hopman Cup tennis: the greatest men's player of all time against the women's G.O.A.T. for the first time in their legendary careers.

The Switzerland vs USA mixed doubles rubber at Perth Arena pitted Federer's 20 singles Grand Slams against Williams' 23. Forget that it was only a Fast4 format. It was exhilarating, for the legends themselves and their army of fans worldwide.

Only the Hopman Cup, with its mixed teams format, could have provided Federer vs Williams (who never play mixed doubles otherwise due to singles commitments). The Perth match has been 20 years in the making. Which prompted a pointed question from international tennis writers: Why is Tennis Australia preparing to scrap the beloved tournament?

The Hopman Cup is on the brink of being pushed off the Aussie summer calendar by the new ATP Cup: a hyped men's-only team event that will offer ranking points and greater prizemoney. But it would mean the end of potential dream match-ups like Federer vs Williams.

Federer, asked about potential changes, offered cautious support for the Hopman Cup after facing Williams. He said he hoped that Perth at least retained world-class tennis.

“I hope it continues and we have great international tennis coming here. Look, tennis is going through some rough changes, more so discussions,” he said.

“Perth has a wonderful arena, great tennis fans, great history, so even if the Hopman Cup folds, I’m sure it will transcend and continue in another shape or form. How it intends to be formed remains to be seen.”

Federer, Serena share lengthy rally

The opinions of leading international tennis writers were even stronger. Senior writer for Sports Illustrated Jon Wertheim urged a rethink from Tennis Australia, saying Federer-Williams had transcended the USA's usual sports navel-gazing.

https://twitter.com/jon_wertheim/status/1080153501018308615

New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg lamented the possibility that the mixed format could be axed for a third men's teams event, behind the Davis Cup and 'Europe vs World' Laver Cup.

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080117406888996865

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080125494433992704

Stuart Fraser of the UK's Times said the Hopman Cup would be missed should it disappear.

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080125494433992704

Forbes and CNN sports writer Danielle Rossingh said that tennis needed more male-female events, not less.

https://twitter.com/DRossingh/status/1080113878477012993

ESPN tennis host Chris McKendry said the match had been compulsory viewing.

https://twitter.com/ChrisMcKendry/status/1080259126779957250

Federer beats Serena in showdown

And for Williams herself, it was a true career highlight. She could not contain her excitement after the match.

“I was so excited,” said Williams, who has won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles alongside sister Venus. “Literally, it was the match of my career.

"I don’t know, just playing someone so great, and someone that you admire so much — and a match that actually means something. It’s not often that that happens.

“Men and women’s tennis just don’t compete against each other. So it’s just really great and special to go against the greatest of all time.”

It may be the one and only time they meet in such fashion, unless there is a rethink from Tennis Australia. That seems unlikely.

https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1080115621688299520

HOW HOPMAN CUP WAS AXED

The news broke in July last year that the Hopman Cup was on its last legs, with Western Australia state government and Tennis Australia support switching to the ATP Cup event. Surprisingly, one of the Hopman Cup's co-founders (it began in 1989) was in support of the move.

Ironically, that was partly due to the introduction of the Fast 4 doubles just played by Federer and Williams.

“With the introduction of the Mickey Mouse, credibility-destroying Fast 4... the Hopman Cup that Paul [McNamee] and I founded and always dreamt of it being and becoming was already dead,” co-founder Charlie Fancutt told Perth Now.

“Given that, and I say this very sadly, Perth is better off with the new ATP event. I love Perth, it was great to me, and I want the best for them [WA tennis fans]. But there’s no point fighting for a dead duck.”

Tennis Australia and the WA government have an agreement to stage the Hopman Cup through to 2022, but that could be set aside in place of a deal for the new tournament. However, Perth currently has no confirmation as a host city.

WHAT IS THE ATP CUP?

The new tournament is planned as one of the richest events in tennis outside of the Grand Slams, boasting $15 million in prizemoney. It was formally announced during the ATP Finals in London last November.

The ATP Cup would be a round-robin format, meaning it offers the same advantage as the Hopman Cup: guaranteed matches to start the Australian summer, even in the event of defeat. It also offers greater prizemoney and ranking points, but will not feature women.

The tournament would feature teams of up to five players from 24 countries, split into six groups of four, playing in three Australian cities across 10 days. Eight teams would emerge from round-robin play to contest finals. Like the Hopman Cup, a tie would feature two singles matches and a doubles rubber.

It shapes as a competitor to the iconic Davis Cup, which has been reduced from a ties event to a tournament and scheduled in a November fixture that is unpopular with players. Perth would aim to be one of the round-robin host cities for the ATP Cup, though may struggle to host finals ties over the likes of Sydney and Melbourne.

The ATP Cup is fashioned as a rebirth of the defunct ATP World Team Cup, which ran in Dusseldorf from 1978-2012.

https://twitter.com/christophclarey/status/1063064499375259648

Roger Federer and Serena Williams just provided the biggest moment in three decades of Hopman Cup tennis: the greatest men's player of all time against the women's G.O.A.T. for the first time in their legendary careers.

The Switzerland vs USA mixed doubles rubber at Perth Arena pitted Federer's 20 singles Grand Slams against Williams' 23. Forget that it was only a Fast4 format. It was exhilarating, for the legends themselves and their army of fans worldwide.

Only the Hopman Cup, with its mixed teams format, could have provided Federer vs Williams (who never play mixed doubles otherwise due to singles commitments). The Perth match has been 20 years in the making. Which prompted a pointed question from international tennis writers: Why is Tennis Australia preparing to scrap the beloved tournament?

The Hopman Cup is on the brink of being pushed off the Aussie summer calendar by the new ATP Cup: a hyped men's-only team event that will offer ranking points and greater prizemoney. But it would mean the end of potential dream match-ups like Federer vs Williams.

Federer, asked about potential changes, offered cautious support for the Hopman Cup after facing Williams. He said he hoped that Perth at least retained world-class tennis.

“I hope it continues and we have great international tennis coming here. Look, tennis is going through some rough changes, more so discussions,” he said.

“Perth has a wonderful arena, great tennis fans, great history, so even if the Hopman Cup folds, I’m sure it will transcend and continue in another shape or form. How it intends to be formed remains to be seen.”

Federer, Serena share lengthy rally

The opinions of leading international tennis writers were even stronger. Senior writer for Sports Illustrated Jon Wertheim urged a rethink from Tennis Australia, saying Federer-Williams had transcended the USA's usual sports navel-gazing.

https://twitter.com/jon_wertheim/status/1080153501018308615

New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg lamented the possibility that the mixed format could be axed for a third men's teams event, behind the Davis Cup and 'Europe vs World' Laver Cup.

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080117406888996865

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080125494433992704

Stuart Fraser of the UK's Times said the Hopman Cup would be missed should it disappear.

https://twitter.com/BenRothenberg/status/1080125494433992704

Forbes and CNN sports writer Danielle Rossingh said that tennis needed more male-female events, not less.

https://twitter.com/DRossingh/status/1080113878477012993

ESPN tennis host Chris McKendry said the match had been compulsory viewing.

https://twitter.com/ChrisMcKendry/status/1080259126779957250

Federer beats Serena in showdown

And for Williams herself, it was a true career highlight. She could not contain her excitement after the match.

“I was so excited,” said Williams, who has won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles alongside sister Venus. “Literally, it was the match of my career.

"I don’t know, just playing someone so great, and someone that you admire so much — and a match that actually means something. It’s not often that that happens.

“Men and women’s tennis just don’t compete against each other. So it’s just really great and special to go against the greatest of all time.”

It may be the one and only time they meet in such fashion, unless there is a rethink from Tennis Australia. That seems unlikely.

https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1080115621688299520

HOW HOPMAN CUP WAS AXED

The news broke in July last year that the Hopman Cup was on its last legs, with Western Australia state government and Tennis Australia support switching to the ATP Cup event. Surprisingly, one of the Hopman Cup's co-founders (it began in 1989) was in support of the move.

Ironically, that was partly due to the introduction of the Fast 4 doubles just played by Federer and Williams.

“With the introduction of the Mickey Mouse, credibility-destroying Fast 4... the Hopman Cup that Paul [McNamee] and I founded and always dreamt of it being and becoming was already dead,” co-founder Charlie Fancutt told Perth Now.

“Given that, and I say this very sadly, Perth is better off with the new ATP event. I love Perth, it was great to me, and I want the best for them [WA tennis fans]. But there’s no point fighting for a dead duck.”

Tennis Australia and the WA government have an agreement to stage the Hopman Cup through to 2022, but that could be set aside in place of a deal for the new tournament. However, Perth currently has no confirmation as a host city.

WHAT IS THE ATP CUP?

The new tournament is planned as one of the richest events in tennis outside of the Grand Slams, boasting $15 million in prizemoney. It was formally announced during the ATP Finals in London last November.

The ATP Cup would be a round-robin format, meaning it offers the same advantage as the Hopman Cup: guaranteed matches to start the Australian summer, even in the event of defeat. It also offers greater prizemoney and ranking points, but will not feature women.

The tournament would feature teams of up to five players from 24 countries, split into six groups of four, playing in three Australian cities across 10 days. Eight teams would emerge from round-robin play to contest finals. Like the Hopman Cup, a tie would feature two singles matches and a doubles rubber.

It shapes as a competitor to the iconic Davis Cup, which has been reduced from a ties event to a tournament and scheduled in a November fixture that is unpopular with players. Perth would aim to be one of the round-robin host cities for the ATP Cup, though may struggle to host finals ties over the likes of Sydney and Melbourne.

The ATP Cup is fashioned as a rebirth of the defunct ATP World Team Cup, which ran in Dusseldorf from 1978-2012.

https://twitter.com/christophclarey/status/1063064499375259648

http://bit.ly/2VpUKb4
//

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