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United Cup trophy tour lobs into Nelson Bay, Newcastle

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It’s the tournament that will launch the 2024 Australian Summer of Tennis, with 18 countries vying to win a coveted gold-plated United Cup.

Swinging into action from 29 December, the trophy itself will be on show this weekend at Nelson Bay and Newcastle.

Tennis fans are invited to have their photo taken with the United Cup silveware and feel like a sporting champion.

The United Cup will take place across Sydney and Perth from 29 December to Sunday 7 January.

It offers a minimum $15 million in prizemoney.

The tournament will feature five of the world’s top 10 women in singles – Iga Swiatek, Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari, Marketa Vondrousova and Caroline Garcia.

Plus, nine of the world’s top 20 men in singles – Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Alexander Zverev, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz, Alex de Minaur, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie.

This star-studded international hard court tennis tournament will be played at Ken Rosewall Arena, Sydney Olympic Park and RAC Arena in Perth.

The United Cup is available for photos at Nelson Bay Tennis Club on Saturday 2 December from 11am to 1pm, and District Park Tennis Centre in Broadmeadow on Sunday 3 December from 9.30am to 11.30am.

Each city will host nine countries in three groups set to compete in a round-robin format. Group winners in each city advance to the quarterfinals, with one quarterfinal spot in each city awarded to the best runner-up in that city.

Winners will progress to the semifinals and finals in Sydney on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 January.

“You can see from the draw, we have big names in each city,” said United Cup Tournament Director Stephen Farrow.

“This event has very quickly, as you can see by the player field, really established itself as an event that players want to play.

“We saw with the passion and intensity with the matches earlier in the year that came across, and the fact the players chose to enter is really testament to the event and the will we put into it.”

The winning trophy is noteworthy as well, a sterling silver and 24-carat gold-plated cup.

Standing 50cm tall, the hand-crafted United Cup features 36 sweeping rods representing the 18-country mixed doubles partnerships, each shaped by hand.

“We wanted a trophy that was instantly iconic, that was very special and unique for the United Cup. And we wanted something that really symbolises bringing together the male and female players,” Farrow said.

“The bowl is symbolic of a prize made for sharing and bringing people together because ultimately this event is about bringing together the best male and the best female players to play for their country.”

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