The third edition of the ATP Cup will be hosted in Sydney the first week of January, with a strong field consisting of several of the world’s biggest tennis stars. The groups and teams are in, and we’ll take a closer look at the favourites ahead of the tournament.
The Serbians won the inaugural event back in 2020, but got knocked out in the group stage in the previous edition. Led by world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, most people will expect Serbia to be in the fight for the title again this time around. The pressure will be on number 2 player Dusan Lajovic to deliver, as Djokovic is expected to win all of his matches.
Spain will be without their star Rafael Nadal, but they still have two competent players in Bautista Agut and Carreno Busta. Norway and Chile both boast a strong number 1 player, but with their number 2 man being around 200-300 in the rankings you’d expect them to have a hard time progressing.
Prediction: Serbia to win the group ahead of Spain, with the two teams meeting in a potentially deciding clash in the final round of the group stage.
Russia comes into the tournament as the top favourite at the Betsson sportsbook, as 2021 saw them win both the ATP Cup and the Davis Cup. Medvedev and Rublev are both ranked in the top 5, with Karatsev joining them inside the top 20. Russia has strong depth in their squad, and will be the team to beat yet again.
Italy should not be overlooked though, with the exciting duo of Berrettini and Sinner ready to give it all in the quest for another place in the knockout stage. Austria will see Dominic Thiem return to action after a turbulent 2021 season, while the home nation Australia will hope to repeat the performance of 2020 where they reached the semifinals.
Prediction: Russia is the clear favourite, but look for Italy to give them a hard fight for the group win.
- Great Britain
Germany made it to the semifinals in the previous edition, and another semifinal appearance in the recent Davis Cup means the Germans should be feeling confident ahead of this event. Leading player Alexander Zverev ended 2021 on a high, winning both the ATP Finals and the Olympics in Tokyo. The question is if compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff can do the job in his singles matches.
Canada has the most evenly matched singles duo in the group in Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov, while Great Britain arguably has the best doubles pair. USA is a bit of a dark horse in this group, with big-serving John Isner able to pose problems for any player.
Prediction: It is hard to see anything other than a Germany win in this group, but things could get interesting if Zverev is not performing at his usual top level.
Maybe the toughest group to predict, with all four countries having a drop from their number 1 player to their number 2 player. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top ranked in the group being fourth in the world, but his team-mate Michail Pervolarakis is all the way down around 400 in the rankings. Poland boasts another top 10 player in Hubert Hurkacz, while Kamil Majchrzak only is ranked 115.
Argentina is the only team that has two players within the top 50, giving them the slight edge. Schwarzman has proven that he can fight with the best of them, the question is then if Delbonis can take care of business and beat players well below him in the rankings.
Georgia can make waves with the always unpredictable Nikoloz Bashilashvili leading the charge, but with his compatriot Metreveli being ranked as low as 567 (the lowest-ranked number 2 player in the tournament) it will surely be too big a task for the Georgian number 1.
Prediction: Argentina has the most even team in the group, and should have enough quality to advance to the next stage.
Should these predictions prove correct, we’ll see Serbia – Argentina and Russia – Germany in the semis. The signs thus point to the top nations Serbia and Russia clashing in the final – will we see Medvedev or Djokovic coming out on top in Sydney?