GROUP OF DEATH AWAITS AUSTRALIA AT ATP CUP

Alex de Minaur and Australia face a baptism of fire when they open their ATP Cup campaign on January 2


The 2022 ATP Cup tournament schedule was released on Wednesday and tennis fans are already salivating at the myriad of likely matchups that will light up Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena.


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who appears more and more likely to make the trip down under by the day, will feature on opening night when Serbia takes on World No. 8 Casper Ruud and Norway.


Day 2 is also set to attract plenty of eyeballs when former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem makes his competitive return to tennis against 2021 US Open Champion Daniil Medvedev and Russia.


Fresh off their Davis Cup victory in Madrid, the Russian team, that also includes World No. 5 Andrey Rublev and 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, will look to maintain their stranglehold on team events and go back-to-back following their ATP Cup success earlier this year.


Perhaps Russia’s greatest challenger at next month’s tournament will be 2021 finalists Italy who Australia face the unenviable task of meeting in the night session on Day 2.


Italy boasts a strong contingent of committed players that is by no means limited to 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and 20-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner, who made his presence felt at the ATP Finals last month.


Australia, who receives a wild card into the event for the second consecutive year as the host nation, will do well to make their presence felt in a pool deserving of the ‘Group of Death’ moniker.


Alex de Minaur faces a stern test as Australia’s No. 1 singles option up against Italy, Russia and Austria but he will be well supported by James Duckworth, Max Purcell, John Peers and Luke Saville.


World No. 49 Duckworth will finally return to the national team after being snubbed from Australia’s Davis Cup team last month following a sensational rise up the rankings in 2021.


A stacked Group B will make for competitive action across the other groups before attention shifts to the knockout stage of the tournament on January 7-9.


Group A is supported by Djokovic and Serbia, who will find themselves on the opposite side of the net to Norway, Chile and Spain. A rematch of the 2020 ATP Cup final between Serbia and Spain looms as the group’s marquee tie in the January 5 night session.


Spain will be led by World No. 19 Roberto Bautista Agut and Tokyo Bronze Medallist Pablo Carreno Busta but will be without Rafael Nadal who is still recovering from a foot injury.


2021 ATP Finals Champion Alexander Zverev and Germany will enter the tournament as favourites to emerge from Group C but they will face stiff opposition from Canada, Great Britain and the United States.


In Group D, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz are likely to give Greece and Poland every chance of advancing despite the best efforts of Argentina and Georgia. This group may well be decided on January 1 when Greece and Poland clash.


2022 ATP CUP SCHEDULE


1 JAN – DAY

Chile vs Spain

Argentina vs Georgia

1 JAN – NIGHT

Serbia vs Norway

Greece vs Poland

2 JAN – DAY

Russia vs Austria

Canada vs USA

2 JAN – NIGHT

Italy vs Australia

Germany vs Great Britain

3 JAN – DAY

Poland vs Georgia

Norway vs Spain

3 JAN – NIGHT

Greece vs Argentina

Serbia vs Chile

4 JAN – DAY

Germany vs USA

Italy vs Austria

4 JAN – NIGHT

Canada vs Great Britain

Russia vs Australia

5 JAN – DAY

Norway vs Chile

Poland vs Argentina

5 JAN – NIGHT

Serbia vs Spain

Greece vs Georgia

6 JAN – DAY

Russia vs Italy

Great Britain vs USA

6 JAN – NIGHT

Austria vs Australia

Germany vs Canada

7 JAN – NIGHT (SF #1)

Group A Winner vs Group D Winner

8 JAN – NIGHT (SF #2)

Group B Winner vs Group C Winner

9 JAN – NIGHT (F)

SF #1 Winner vs SF #2 Winner


Pre-sale tickets for the 2022 ATP Cup will be available from December 9 at https://www.atpcup.com/en/tickets.