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Spain's ATP Cup captain wary of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Italy's captain confident for Berrettini's clash with Dominic Thiem

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Rafael Nadal face each other at the ATP Cup
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Rafael Nadal face each other at the ATP Cup
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 22 Jan 2021
News
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Following the release of the ATP Cup draw, the camps of the various countries participating in the event have spoken about their chances and misfortunes.

Defending champions Serbia face Germany and Canada in Group A, while last year's runners-up Spain take on Greece and Australia in Group B. Dominic Thiem's Austria face Italy and France in Group C, while Russia, Argentina, and Japan make up Group D.

The Spanish team looks primed to make it to the next stage, headlined as it is by World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and accomplished hardcourter Roberto Bautista Agut. The captain and coach of Spain's ATP Cup team Papa Vendrell recently asserted that the camp is confident about its chances, despite the complex quarantine conditions.

"We have a team and players to focus on what is ours," Vendrell said. "Each one is preparing with their respective teams and trying to get out of quarantine in the best possible way. It is a circumstance that is going to influence and that we will have to know how to manage. There are 10 days left and we will try to arrive as best we can."

Vendrell also revealed he is particularly wary of Greek headliner Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will take on Rafael Nadal during the group stages of the ATP Cup.

"Stefanos Tsitsipas is super competitive on these courts and will influence his teammates," the Spaniard added. "The other three players are not from the tour, but that will also make them play without pressure, enjoying the experience."

Matteo Berrettini 'finds himself quite well' against Dominic Thiem: Italy's ATP Cup captain

Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem face each other at the ATP Cup
Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem face each other at the ATP Cup

Meanwhile, the captain of Italy's ATP Cup team Vincenzo Santopadre is fairly upbeat about their chances against World No. 3 Dominic Thiem. Matteo Berrettini will face the Austrian in the first singles matchup, while veteran Fabio Fognini will take on Denis Novak.

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Santopadre claimed he is confident for both fixtures, alluding to Berrettini's strong record against Dominic Thiem.

"For the draw, I cannot complain that Austria has the second singles player, Novak, on paper weaker than that of other teams," said Santopadre. "Dominic Thiem who is a very strong and certainly advanced player but with whom all in all Matteo finds himself quite well. He beat him in Shanghai, he narrowly lost to him in Austria. Matteo is in shape, he misses the race but has recovered physically after a difficult year."

Matteo Berrettini has faced Dominic Thiem a total of four times, winning two of those encounters - at the ATP Finals and the Shanghai Masters, both in 2019. Moreover, all of their matches have been relatively close; even at Roland Garros 2018, Thiem needed four sets to quell Berrettini's challenge.

Published 22 Jan 2021, 20:56 IST
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