The 2023 tennis kicks off next week with the inaugural edition of the United Cup in Australia.
As the players prepare to ring in the new year and kick off their seasons, here's what you need to know about the team competition, which brings together the best on both the Hologic WTA Tour and ATP Tour.
When is the tournament?
The United Cup is an 18-team, mixed-team competition. The 11-day tournament begins on Dec. 29 and will be played across three cities, Sydney (Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre), Brisbane (Queensland Tennis Centre) and Perth (RAC Arena).
Teams in Sydney and Brisbane will play on outdoor hard courts. Perth will feature an indoor hard court. All three venues will use the Dunlop Australian Open balls.
Who's playing where in Week 1: United Cup | Adelaide 1 | Auckland
What is the format?
The group stage will be played from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3. Each city will host two groups of three countries, competing in a round-robin format. Played over two days, ties will be comprised of two ATP and two WTA singles matches between the No.1-ranked players and No.2-ranked players and one mixed doubles match. If the tie is locked at 2-2 after singles, the mixed doubles match will decide the winner.
The winner of each of the two groups will advance to the City Final on Wednesday, Jan. 4 to determine which team will advance to the United Cup Final Four. The fourth team will be the City Final runner-up with the best record from its three matches.
The Final Four will have a travel day on Thursday, Jan. 5. The semifinals will be played across two days on Friday, Jan. 6 and Saturday, Jan. 7 in Sydney.
Introducing our spectacular #UnitedCup 🏆— United Cup (@UnitedCupTennis) December 20, 2022
Designed and made by @ThomasLyte, this masterpiece took over 400 craft hours to create and features 36 sweeping rods to represent the 18-country mixed doubles partnerships, each shaped by hand.
Read more: https://t.co/21Xgk6iDdu pic.twitter.com/EHtAOwuopm
When are the finals?
The United Cup final will be played on Sunday, Jan. 8 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Sydney.
How have the groups been drawn?
Six countries qualified based on the ATP ranking of their No.1 player, six countries qualified based on the WTA ranking of their No.1 singles player and six countries qualified based on the best combined ranking of their No.1 ATP and WTA players. Australia received entry as the host nation.
The top six seeds are No.1 Greece, No.2 Poland, No.3 United States, No.4 Spain, No.5 Italy and No.6 France.
Here's how the groups were drawn:
Who is playing and where?
The United Cup features a star-studded field that includes WTA World No.1 Iga Swiatek, reigning Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal, and WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia. The all-star duo of Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the top-seeded Greek squad, while World No.3 Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys and Taylor Fritz head up a strong United States team.
United Cup: Full player roster
Fresh off their victory at the Billie Jean King Cup, Belinda Bencic and Jil Teichmann join Stan Wawrinka for the Swiss. Petra Kvitova and Marie Bouzkova will lead the way for the historically strong Czech Republic.
In total, the United Cup field features eight of the Hologic WTA Tour's Top 20. With the No.1s and No.2s from each group set to face off in singles, here are some of the potential matches on tap during the group stage:
Swiatek vs. Bencic
Swiatek vs. Putintseva
Bencic vs. Putintseva
Haddad Maia vs. Trevisan
Pegula vs. Kvitova
Badosa vs. Tomljanovic
Keys vs. Bouzkova
Sakkari vs. Mertens
Garcia vs. Martic
Cornet vs. Vekic
Garcia vs. Podoroska
What is the prize money and rankings points on offer?
The total prize money pool for the United Cup is $15 million, split equally between the ATP and WTA. Individual prize money is based on ranking, match wins, and team wins. No points will be awarded for mixed doubles.
A player can earn a maximum of 500 points for the week, depending on their ranking.
For a full breakdown of points and prize money, click here.