I think there was only one year where I just played the Australian Open, skipping Mubadala and the opening week of the season. That was probably due to a very late finish. I decided with the team that it's maybe better to go to Australia; most of the time, I play at least one lead-up event to the Australian Open.
This previous season and the beginning of the new one were quite particular because it was a very late finish, literally the last week of November. Then, we started the new year just before the new year. You had maybe five weeks to rest and prepare; comparing to other sports, it is an extremely short gap for the rest and preparations.
I'm thrilled I was part of the ATP Cup. We won the inaugural title for Serbia, which I thought was a great success in general as a competition; it was very well-organized. I liked the fact that it was spread out to about ten days and we had a day between the encounters in the group stage.
We moved to a different city to play quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. We enjoyed much support from the Serbian community there. For me, there was not a better way to start the season. It was the best possible confidence booster for the Australian Open.
The Davis Cup Finals format is very similar but there are some differences. Something that players don't like with the Davis Cup is the fact you can't play at home anymore. The ATP Cup was like playing at home for us because we had tremendous support in Australia.
On the other hand, the ATP Cup will stay in Australia for at least ten years. It's complicated to call these competitions World Cups because there is no 'world' if you keep it in one place for ten years. For 99% of the nations, they will not have the possibility for many, many years to host a tie at home unless you play the qualification tie for the final seven days in Madrid.
The older format had its advantages of playing home and away. There was also a lack of top players' involvement in the Davis Cup because of the scheduling weeks. I understand there was a need to change the format and I supported that.
I think some things have to be different because they have to allow more nations to host at least group stages, for example. I mean, how many countries you have in Madrid? I wouldn't have 18 teams. I would go with the final four or elite eight.
Before that, we would have an earlier phase of the year group stages spread out, four teams for every group, hosted in five, six different countries so you allow all these different countries to host these group stages with several teams.
It's tough to expect that both Davis Cup and ATP Cup will survive six weeks apart. To be honest, I know it's different because the ATP Cup kicks off the season and it is a different format of the Davis Cup which is the most historic team competition in our sport, the one that we value the most.
In my opinion, they have to merge. There have been talks about that even before the two competitions were changed into these formats that we have today. I know there have been some extensive talks between ATP and ITF and the Kosmos group to create a solution for the future that would serve both competitions, hopefully creating one Super cup.
I think that's necessary because it will be challenging to play every single year in both competitions, so I'm going to have to choose one and that's going to be the case for many other players. I don't think this is a sustainable model for our sport.