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Defending ATP Cup Tennis Champion Serbia Draws Canada, Spain Plays Australia

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic leads Serbia’s defense of its ATP Cup championship.

By Ricky Dimon

The 2021 ATP Cup draw was held on Friday at Melbourne Park. Twelve teams are participating in the second annual tournament, split into four groups before round-robin competition determines the quartet of semifinalists.

Last season’s inaugural ATP Cup featured 24 teams in six groups of four and was played in three different cities throughout Australia (Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney). Six group winners and two wild cards advanced to the quarterfinals. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s version had to be scaled down and confined to Melbourne. With only one semifinal spot available in each group, the draw was especially important this time around.

The top four seeds had already been determined by the ATP rankings. Novak Djokovic’s Serbia is No. 1, Rafael Nadal’s Spain is No. 2, Dominic Thiem’s Austria is No. 3, and Daniil Medvedev’s Russia is No. 4.

Here is how the entire draw shook out:

Group A
Serbia
Germany
Canada

Group B
Spain
Greece
Australia

Group C
Austria
Italy
France

Group D
Russia
Argentina
Japan

Team Serbia celebrates after defeating France during day 4 of the 2020 ATP Cup at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane, Australia.

Serbia is the defending champion, having knocked off Spain in the 2020 final. Djokovic and company are clearly favored to emerge from Group A, although Canada can never be discounted in a team competition. The Canadians are led by Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic, which will put pressure on Serbia’s second singles player–either Dusan Lajovic or Filip Krajinovic.

Nadal’s round-robin singles campaign will likely feature matches against Alex de Minaur of Australia and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. The world No. 2 will get support from Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Marcel Granollers, all of whom have plenty of experience in team competitions.

Since the Austrians are really a one-man show with Thiem, so they will have their hands full with Italy and France. Italy boasts Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini, while France is armed with Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire for singles in addition to the doubles pairing of Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Russia is absolutely loaded thanks to having both Medvedev and Andrey Rublev on board. Unless Kei Nishikori or Diego Schwartzman really catch fire, the Russians should be well on their way to the semis.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.