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Stefanos Tsitsipas joins Rafael Nadal in Barcelona entry list, Dominic Thiem skips title defense to join Novak Djokovic in Belgrade

Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Rafael Nadal
Stefanos Tsitsipas (L) and Rafael Nadal
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 24 Mar 2021
News

Rafael Nadal will be joined by a fleet of big names on the clay courts of Barcelona for the ATP 500 event to be held from 19 to 25 April. The tournament website has confirmed the entry list, which features the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman and Denis Shapovalov.

It came as no surprise that Rafael Nadal - after whom the centre court at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona venue is named - has confirmed to play the event for a 16th time. However, the 2021 field is arguably the most competitive it has been in years.

Both Tsitsipas (Madrid 2019 semifinal) and Schwartzman (Rome 2020 quarterfinal) have picked up high-profile wins over Rafael Nadal on clay in the recent past. Tsitsipas even defeated Nadal in the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year, after overturning a two-set deficit.

The Nadal slayers will be joined by local favorites Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta, as well as David Goffin, Felix Auger Aliassime and Nick Kyrgios. Teengae sensation Jannik Sinner - who reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in his very first appearance - is also in the entry list for the tournament in Catalonia.

However, defending champion and World No. 4 Dominic Thiem will skip Barcelona this year. The Austrian has instead opted to play the ATP 250 event in Belgrade, which will be held in the same week as Barcelona.

Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem headline strong lineup in Belgrade

Dominic Thiem lifting the 2019 Barcelona Open trophy
Dominic Thiem lifting the 2019 Barcelona Open trophy

Novak Djokovic was almost automatically confirmed to play the ATP 250 event in Belgrade the moment the Hungarian Open relocated to the Serbian capital. The Djokovic family is heavily involved in the planning of the tournament, with the World No. 1's brother Djordje being the tournament director.

The event in Serbia has attracted plenty of other big names too, making for a very competitive ATP 250 field. Dominic Thiem has decided not to defend his title in Barcelona (from which he will only drop 250 points due to the new ranking system), and he will be joined in Belgrade by the likes of Matteo Berrettini and Stan Wawrinka.

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Also joining the field in Belgrade is veteran Gael Monfils, who is currently on a seven-match losing streak dating back to 12 months ago. There will, in addition, be heavy representation from the Balkan region in the form of Borna Coric, Dusan Lajovic, Filip Krajinovic and Miomir Kecmanovic.

Australian Open semifinalist and Dubai title-holder Aslan Karatsev is also in the lineup. The Russian will be seeded eighth, after his meteoric rise to the top 30 of the world rankings this year.

Published 24 Mar 2021, 14:14 IST
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