After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that the Hopman Cup will no longer be played in Perth.
It will be replaced by the ATP Cup, a men’s only event held across three cities – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.
Hopman Cup founder and former tennis great Paul McNamee said it was a sad day to see the tournament finish after 31 years, but left the door open for it possibly continuing in a different location.
“[It was] a wonderful event that was embraced by Perth,” he said.
“Nothing could’ve been embraced by the people of the city more than Hopman Cup in Perth, so my immediate feeling is sadness that it’s not going to be there anymore, and concern about where the Hopman Cup may be in the future.”
The ATP Cup will feature 24 teams and more than 100 players, and Mr McNamee said it would ensure international tennis remained in Perth.
He said this year’s Hopman Cup had been a hugely successful way to end the tournament.
“If there was a sign off, or a signature to say ‘well, bye bye Hopman Cup’, it was the fact that probably the two greatest players in the history of the sport, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, went on court at the Perth Arena and went head-to-head,” he said.
“Now that is just remarkable and something we all should say, well you couldn’t get a better way to sign off the Hopman Cup than that.”
While the Hopman Cup was a mixed tournament, the replacement fixture will be a men’s only tournament.
There has been no confirmation about whether a Women’s Tennis Association fixture would be set up to allow international women’s tennis to continue to be played in Perth.
Cash, Becker, Graf were Hopman highlights
When asked about his own personal highlights, Mr McNamee went back to 1989 and 1992.
“Just the first ball in the first tournament when Pat Cash played Jeremy Bates,” he said.
“To think we actually could start a big event in a city like Perth, in a sparkling new casino resort, it was just that feeling I’ll never forget.
“And probably when [Boris] Becker and [Steffi] Graf had their ill-fated match together, at that time that was bit like Federer and Serena.
“The team we had there and the love we kind of shared with Perth, I’ve seen a lot of sport around the world and it was completely unique.”
Perth hosted the Hopman Cup for just over three decades as a mixed-team round-robin competition, where players from different countries competed.
It was used by players as a warm-up event ahead of Melbourne’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the season.