The United Cup gets underway on Friday and that includes Spain versus Brazil and Great Britain versus Australia. Carlos Alcaraz will not be playing for Spain, but the tournament doesn't lack a lot of luster. There are plenty of great players participating including Novak Djokovic playing for Serbia and Iga Swiatek playing for Poland.
Swiatek's Poland doesn't begin play until Saturday. Djokovic's Serbia doesn't begin until Sunday. Poland plays Brazil while Serbia takes on China.
The event will take place in both Perth and Sydney, Australia. No WTA nor ATP points are awarded for the event but there are so many top players involved the tournament still will serve as a great warm-up event for the Australian Open which begins on January 14. Here is some news for Thursday that partly involves the United Cup.
Alex de Minaur would feel 'embarrassed' to play Katie Boulter
OK, so if you didn't already know that de Minaur and Boulter were dating that headline might seem a little awkward and sexist. Thankfully, it is anything but. Boulter's Great Britain and de Minaur's Australia are in the same group stage at the United Cup. They will play one another, and as the United Cup involves mixed doubles matches there could have been a decent chance de Minaur would be across the net from Boulter.
Instead, the issue for de Minaur isn't that he would play Boulter, but rather that he doesn't feel he would help Australia win because he doesn't play doubles as well as some others on his team. According to de Minaur, "I’m definitely not a doubles specialist. So it would definitely be Matty (Ebden). I wouldn’t want to put myself out there and embarrass myself."
It will be interesting to see who de Minaur roots harder for in mixed doubles; His home country or his girlfriend. Maybe the tie will have been decided by that point so there is no pressure on de Minaur. Or Boulter, for that matter.
ATP slightly changes its ranking system
If you are currently ranked outside the ATP 100, good luck getting into the double-digits. In 2024, the ATP will tweak its points so that the runner-up in a Grand Slam will get 1,300 points instead of 1,200. A runner-up at a Masters 1000 will get 650 points instead of 600. This doesn't seem like a massive change and won't to top players, but those trying to move up in the rankings might be hindered by the new points system.
That is because points awarded on the Challenger tour will be slightly less. Meaning if you are working your way up, those above you are getting more points while you are getting less. This seems like a strange change by the ATP unless they are simply trying to create a minor league system in tennis which would be a shame.