After a successful inauguration in 2019 the ATP Cup will once again be a major season opener in Australia. Held in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne last year due to travel it will just be Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park which hosts this years edition.
With a lot of tennis to play 24 teams have been cut to 12 creating four groups of three and it is set to be an exciting start to the season, what should we watch out for?
Serbia, Germany & Canada
If I look at this group and think of a team to watch my attention turns to Team Canada. They are led by Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic and in all honesty I want to see them kick off in Melbourne in style.
Milos has had some rough injuries over the last couple of years and is a former major finalist. 2016 was his year, I thought he was exceptional that season and pushed the best. He had big wins over Stan in Melbourne and Roger in London and caused big issues for top players. Now for Milos I think there is more of a catch-up to do, I do think his experience will be key and I think he has a lot to offer still and can certainly see an injury free Milos Raonic getting back to the top ten.
Denis Shapovalov? I think this is a big year for Denis, I do want to see a kick-on from the Canadian. Can he cause problems for Djokovic and Zverev? Most definitely but can it all come together for the win? He did beat Tsitsipas and Zverev last year in this competition. Quarter finals was his best run in a major at last years US Open and despite last years disruption has made four Masters 1000 semi-finals in four consecutive years.
Zverev and Stuff lead the line for Germany, Zverev has a lot to prove. Soo much has gone on off and on the court this last year and he needs to settle down and in a way build his career and it will be very tough and he will run into a lot of opinions and questions. He has recently also split from David Ferrer and Roger Federer’s management company Team8. He has a lot to prove not just on the court.
Serbia, the main man… Novak Djokovic. Will Novak be hurt slightly by what has been said? Most likely yes, will he be bothered by it? Absolutely not. We have seen fans gather outside of his hotel to cheer him on despite the media reaction to him speaking up for fellow players but at least he is speaking up!
He was the standout player here last year, he was in a league of his own and the performances echoed his status as world number one. I don’t think he will be fazed by what has been said in the last couple of weeks at all and will cherish being able to compete again.
Who will make the semi-finals? I think this could be a surprise, Djokovic and Serbia are the main shout, I wouldn’t rule out Germany with Maes and Krawietz in doubles but Canada are equally strong too.