Will Andy Murray be fit enough to play his best tennis, or will David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov run away with wins for their respective teams? That will be the major question when Group C play of the ATP Cup 2020 kicks off in Sydney this January.
In a rather well-balanced group on paper, four nations - Belgium, Great Britain, Bulgaria and Moldova - will be looking to go one-up over their opponents as they pursue a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.
While he has made steady progress over the pass few months, it really is too early to say whether Murray is back at his best. In fact, he is still far off from the way he was playing a couple of years ago.
If Murray is even slightly below his top level, the British team would be vulnerable.
With a draw that features big names like Goffin and Dimitrov, nothing will come easy. You have to give the edge to Goffin here, considering he has been the most consistent of the three in the recent past.
Assuming that Goffin wins both of his matches against the Brit and the Bulgarian, there is little reason why Belgium should not top the group.
But that's not to discount his opponents, including the steely Moldovan Radu Albot. If fully fit, these are players that you'd rather not see across the net - and Goffin knows that well.
What is even more worrying for the Belgian side is the lack of a second option. In the second singles as well as the doubles matches, it is anyone's game.
A lot of the attention would centre around Murray and Dimitrov in their respective teams, but at this point they are both question marks. They both showed signs of revival in late 2019, and their teammates would be hoping that they continue on the same path to start 2020.
Meanwhile, the likes of Steve Darcis (Belgium), Dan Evans (Great Britain), Dimitar Kuzmanov (Bulgaria) and Alexander Cozbinov (Moldova) would all be closely matched, and there could easily be a couple of surprise results here and there.
Looking at such an open draw, you have to give an edge to the team most likely to take an early advantage following the first singles match. And that has to be either Belgium or Bulgaria at this point.
What comes after that, however, is anyone's guess.
Prediction: Belgium to finish top of the group, Great Britain a close second.Published 28 Dec 2019, 02:22 IST