Nick Kyrgios has backed Tennis ‘s plan to expand the Fast 4 event into a week-long tournament in Sydney, revealing his interest in competing if it was to become part of the calendar.
Kyrgios joined Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils and Rafael Nadal in Sydney on Monday night for the revised format of the sport at Allphones Arena.
As revealed by Fairfax Media, the interest in the entertainment-packed concept has led to Tennis opening discussions with Channel Seven and Channel Nine about expanding the event.
There are plans in place to lure the top male and female players in the world for a nation-based team tournament being looked at for October or November, potentially as early as 2017.
Kyrgios, whose confidence and flair suits what is being described as the Twenty20 of tennis, admits he would like to be part of any expansion of the format.
“Yeah, definitely [be interested],” Kyrgios said.
“I really look forward to any sort of event like ITPL [International Tennis Premier League] or Fast 4. I think it’s really exciting. I think I speak for myself and Gael [Monfils] that we really look forward to any event like that coming up.”
The Sydney International has struggled to attract large crowds in recent years, languishing behind the Brisbane International and Hopman Cup.
However, the Fast 4 concept was played out in front of a soldout crowd of 12,000 people at the Sydney Entertainment Centre last year when Roger Federer took on Lleyton Hewitt, while 11,000 tickets were sold for the second instalment on Monday night.
Hewitt believes the initiative is huge for Sydney and hopes it can help increase participation in the sport.
“It’s fantastic,” Hewitt said. “It’s nice to make a stop here in Sydney and get the opportunity to play in front of a packed house. The Fast 4 format is really exciting, I think for the crowd as well. I think it’s big for tennis in this city. We want to get the next generation of young ns playing our great sport and wanting to see great players. It’s a big thing for our sport.
“I think it’s really good for local clubs within and exhibition matches as well just because the crowd knows how long it’s going to be. It’s very similar to T20 cricket in that way. It’s exciting, a lot of shot making, a lot of big serves – not so much from me … it’s really entertaining for the crowd and I think it could bring a lot of different people to watch our sport.”
Tennis has attracted the interest of major broadcast networks around the world with the idea, which could run after the WTA and ATP world tour finals in November, and also be extended to include top female players such as Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
At present, the only arena with a roof that would guarantee play is Allphones Arena. However, with the state government proposing a 10,000-seat indoor stadium in the city, it is likely to shift to the new facility if the tournament gets the green light.
The introduction of the International Tennis Premier League in Asia and the Middle East in 2014, as well as the interest in the Hopman Cup this year, have proven how successful team-based tournaments are in attracting viewers as well as luring the top players in the world to play.