World No. 3 Dominic Thiem will be the highest-ranked singles player in the Austrian team at the upcoming ATP Cup while his father Wolfgang Thiem will be the captain, according to Austrian daily Krone. Dennis Novak and Philipp Oswald will reportedly compete alongside Thiem in the star-studded team event.
The second edition of the ATP Cup will be held from 1 to 5 February at Melbourne Park, the same venue as the Australian Open.
The first edition of the tournament last year was held in three cities across Australia - Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. But with the challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennis Australia has decided to move all its summer tennis events to Melbourne. The players can thus remain in the same city for the subsequent Australian Open, which is scheduled to begin from 8 February.
The format of the ATP Cup has also been trimmed down for the 2021 edition. While 24 teams competed in the first edition, only 12 teams will participate in the second.
The 12 countries will be divided into four groups of three teams each, who will play a round-robin format. The winner of each group will advance to the semifinal knockout stage, with the winners then clashing for the Cup.
Serbia defeated Spain to win the title in 2020, with Novak Djokovic beating Rafael Nadal to clinch the all-important singles rubber.
While the official confirmations of the teams for the 2021 edition have yet to be announced, the tournament is expected to draw a number of top players. As per the Spanish daily MARCA, Rafael Nadal will lead Spain's team in 2021.
Austria will need a strong performance from Dominic Thiem to qualify for the knockout stage of the ATP Cup
Austria were placed in Group E last year, along with Argentina, Poland and Croatia. They finished with a 1-2 record in the group stage, failing to advance to the quarter-final stage.
The Austrians, fronted by Dominic Thiem and captained by former World No. 1 Thomas Muster in 2020, overcame Argentina 3-0 to begin with. However, they were beaten by Croatia 0-3 and Poland 1-2.
Dominic Thiem won one of his three singles matches last year while losing two. The Austrians will be hoping for a stronger performance from their top-ranked player if they are to qualify for the semifinal stage in 2021.
Since last year's edition, Dominic Thiem has gone to achieve some of the best results of his career. He reached the final of the Australian Open, won his first Major at the US Open, and reached the final of the season-ending ATP Finals in London.Published 03 Jan 2021, 19:06 IST