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Tennis Australia confirms WTA Cup plans following scheduling criticism

Tennis Australia confirms WTA Cup plans following scheduling criticism

"It was what the ATP wanted—they got what they wanted, girls to the side, that's kind of how it always is," said Sloane Stephens.

Tennis Australia is in talks with the WTA about creating an equivalent women's competition of the ATP Cup, and looking at building a second arena for Brisbane.

"The ATP Cup is the first step in that and now we are in great talks with the WTA about a new concept and are really excited about the potential," said Brisbane tournament director Mark Handley in a statement.

The organization confirmed its plans following criticism of the now contrasting lead-ups to the Australian Open in Australia—the men played the ATP Cup team competition across three locations in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, while the women played a regular WTA event at Brisbane. 

In particular, there have been complaints about the ATP Cup occupying the center court at Brisbane for the first three days of the week, relegating some top-ranked WTA players like Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka to secondary courts. 

Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens were the most recent players to criticize the scheduling.


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"You definitely recognize it and notice it. It feels like a little bit of a second-hand event," said Sharapova. 

"We just weren't in the conversation," said Stephens who is on the WTA Player Council. "It was what the ATP wanted -- they got what they wanted, girls to the side, that's kind of how it always is."

Craig Tiley, who runs the Australian Open, said the current arrangement was "transitional" and he would speak to government officials in Queensland about a second arena for Brisbane to allow for a more even setting.

"I am excited for them and they are all keen for it. They have seen what happened on the men's side. We haven't finalized on the women's side yet because there are a few more things to move about," said Tiley

A WTA Cup could also create scheduling conflicts across other locations like Sydney and Perth, which also have just one large center court, though there are other Australian facilities that can also hold such events. Tennis Australia has not specified where the WTA Cup would be played.

Tiley plans to speak further to WTA CEO Steve Simon about the potential new team competition.