World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and World No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut will lead the Spanish team at the ATP Cup this year, according to Spanish daily MARCA. The tournament is scheduled to be held in the first week of February, just prior to the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut will reportedly be joined by World No. 16 Pablo Carreno Busta and doubles specialist Marcel Granollers in the squad. If Tennis Australia permits a five-member team, then Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the fourth highest Spaniard in the ATP singles rankings, would also be included.
The second edition of the ATP Cup will be held from 1 to 5 February in Melbourne. The inaugural edition last year was a smashing success, and was held in three cities across Australia - Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tennis Australia has decided to move the event to Melbourne. The players can thus remain in a secure bubble during their entire time in Australia.
11 countries have qualified for the ATP Cup based on the spot of their highest-ranked singles player. Australia meanwhile have been given a wild card into the event as they are the hosts.
The format of the ATP Cup has been also been modified for the 2021 edition. The 12 countries have been divided into four groups of three teams each, who will play a round-robin format. The winner of each group qualifies for the semifinal knockout stage, with two of them then advancing to the final.
The tournament is expected to draw a strong field, although official confirmations have yet to be announced. The points and prize money details being awarded for the event are as follows:
Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut had taken Spain to the final of the 2020 ATP Cup
In the 2020 edition of the ATP Cup, Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut led the Spanish team all the way to the final - where they were defeated by Serbia. Nadal went 4-2 in singles and 2-0 in doubles last year, while Bautista Agut won all of his six singles matches.
Spain defeated Georgia, Uruguay and Japan in the round-robin group stage last year. They went on to beat Belgium in the quarterfinals and then hosts Australia in the semifinals. But the Novak Djokovic-led Serbia were too strong for Spain, as they won 2-1 in a thrilling final which went down to the doubles decider.Published 01 Jan 2021, 12:41 IST