Canberra Challenger will continue despite launch of ATP Cup
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Canberra Challenger will continue despite launch of ATP Cup

The Canberra Challenger will continue despite the introduction of the ATP Cup, which will launch its inaugural edition in Australia next summer.

The 24-nation men's event will feature up to five players from each competing country and be played over 10 days in January before the 2020 Australian Open.

Canberra Challenger winner Hubert Hurkacz in action last week.

Canberra Challenger winner Hubert Hurkacz in action last week. Credit:Ben Southall

The preliminary round-robin stages will be played across six days in Sydney, Brisbane and a yet-to-be-confirmed third capital city, before Sydney host the finals over the remaining four days.

Tennis ACT boss Kim Kachel said Canberra would not be the third city but that the capital remained committed to its annual Challenger event.

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"The ATP Cup is an extremely exciting initiative with the top 24 nations and their respective teammates here in Australia beginning the summer of tennis, all best players in the world will be here," Kachel said.

"It will be a brand new, innovative and exciting lead up to the Australian Open. I'm very much looking forward to it and Canberra is very committed to continuing to host fantastic pro tour events.

"If anything, the ATP Cup is likely to bolster our event as a lead-in to the Australian Open. We’ve seen lots of great players come here previously and we'll continue to provide top tennis."

Kachel said there was scope for the Canberra tournament to improve its standing in terms of ranking points and prize money but ruled out reaching ATP status.

Polish star Hubert Hurkacz won the Canberra Challenger on Saturday, while past champions include veterans Andreas Seppi and Dudi Sela.

"It has been another great Canberra Challenger and I'm looking forward to seeing several of the guys play in Melbourne at the Australian Open this week," Kachel said.

"We have to review things in line with changes to the Challenger tour but there's potential to bolster our event and I'm confident we'll continue to attract some of the best players in the world."

Canberra hosted the Fed Cup last year when Australia defeated Ukraine and Kachel said his organisation are keen to host more international events in the capital.

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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