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Davis Cup, Laver Cup getting new companion

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LONDON — The Davis Cup and the Laver Cup are getting a new team-competition companion.

The men’s tennis tour said Thursday the debut of the ATP Cup will take place in January 2020, just a week before the start of the Australian Open.

The announcement of the 24-team event comes three months after the International Tennis Federation – backed by a group of investors spearheaded by Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique – said it would hold a one-week competition for 18 nations in Madrid in November 2019.

The ATP Cup will be played over 10 days in three yet-to-be-confirmed Australian cities.

“You can have multiple team events, that’s not the issue,” ATP president Chris Kermode said. “The issue is that the timing is so close and I get that. I’m really, really confident that down the line we will find a resolution for this.”

The ATP Cup, which will offer $15 million in prize money for players, will be held in partnership with Tennis Australia. The location and timing is intended to provide ideal preparation ahead of the Australian Open, with the first Grand Slam of the season starting in Melbourne a week later.

Tennis Australia is also a partner of the Laver Cup, another annual team competition, which began in 2017 and pits European players against a “World” team in September.

“We’ll make sure that in 2020 we run a great event and we’ll do whatever we can in partnership with the tour and others to ensure that Davis Cup is also a magnificent global event,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

Nations will qualify for the ATP Cup by virtue of the ranking of their highest-seeded player and will then be split into six groups of four to compete in a round robin, which will feature one doubles contest and two singles matches.

Unlike the Davis Cup, the ATP Cup will offer ranking points, which will be based on individual results. A player who wins all his matches – and the tournament – could claim 750 points.

The launch took place at the O2 Arena in London, where the men’s tennis tour’s flagship event, the ATP Finals, is currently taking place.

“We have Davis Cup, obviously, that has been the most historical team event,” said top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player Council. “And now we have the ATP Cup that is definitely going to be right up there in terms of its value from the players’ perspective.”

The ATP formerly held a World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, Germany, which ran for 35 years but was discontinued in 2012.

“All of us players around the world are unified and united in this event,” American player John Isner said. “It’s the perfect week for it. Everyone wants to be in tip-top shape come the Australian Open and this event is going to allow us to do that.”

Andy Roddick returns for exhibition match to start New York Open

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NEW YORK — Andy Roddick is trying to get his shoulder ready, hoping he can still bring the high heat on serve.

The former U.S. Open champion will be back in town and wants to have his game with him.

“Coming back to New York is certainly not a place where I want to not play well,” Roddick said.

He will play fellow tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier on Feb. 9 in an exhibition match to kick off the New York Open, event organizers announced Wednesday.

Wimbledon finalist and defending champion Kevin Anderson and top American John Isner headline the field in February for the second year of the ATP Tour event, which Roddick won three times when it was based in Memphis, Tennessee.

It has since moved to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale and Roddick says it remains a valuable tournament for players who want to prepare in the U.S. for the big events that soon follow in Indian Wells, California, and Miami.

He found that worked for him and it certainly did last year for Anderson, who used his victory on Long Island as the springboard for his first career finish inside the top 10 at No. 6. Isner, whom he beat in a marathon Wimbledon semifinal, finished 10th.

“You want to kind of find form early in the year. You can train as hard as you want, you can work as hard as you want, you can’t put confidence in a bottle,” Roddick said. “Sometimes I’d play well in Australia and then I’d feel good in Memphis. It kind of does give you a little bit of rhythm to your year and especially a guy like me or Kevin, who might not like the clay as much as some of the other guys, those first three months through March are super important.”

Americans Jack Sock and Sam Querrey, last year’s runner-up, will also be in the field of the Feb. 9-17 event along with Alex de Minaur, the ATP Newcomer of the Year who will turn 20 the day of the final and is also playing doubles with fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt. Mike and Bob Bryan headline the doubles field after Mike teamed with Sock to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year while his twin brother was recovering from a hip injury.

Roddick rode his fierce serve – he had one timed at 155 mph in a 2004 Davis Cup match – to the 2003 U.S. Open title, the world’s No. 1 ranking and nine straight finishes in the top 10. Only 30 when he retired in 2012, he said he could still play with guys on tour until a couple years ago but estimated he played fewer than 10 times this year.

But the opportunity to come back to New York, where he and Courier will also co-host a “Taste of New York Open” on opening night, renewed his enthusiasm to play.

“Tennis has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old so you don’t want to just completely throw it away,” Roddick said. “So I was pumped, I was excited.”

Tennis broadcaster Justin Gimelstob accused of assault in LA

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LOS ANGELES — Tennis broadcaster and coach Justin Gimelstob faces a felony assault charge following his Halloween night arrest for allegedly attacking a former friend in Los Angeles.

The 41-year-old former pro player is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Gimelstob’s attorney, Shawn Holley, didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to an email and call seeking comment.

Gimelstob was arrested on suspicion of beating Randall Kaplan as they trick-or-treated with their kids. Kaplan says Gimelstob struck him multiple times and threatened to kill him.

Sean Walsh, a spokesman for Kaplan, says a motive is unknown. Kaplan alleges that Gimelstob previously threatened him because he was friends with the tennis commentator’s estranged wife.

Gimelstob won more than a dozen doubles titles as a player. He retired in 2007 and has since worked with the Tennis Channel.