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05.01.2021 Tennis

Djokovic and Nadal to lead Serbia and Spain at 2021 ATP Cup

By Paul Nolan - RFI
Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP/File
LISTEN JAN 5, 2021
Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP/File

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the top two tennis players in the world, have added their names to the field for the 12-nation 2021 ATP Cup.

The four-day tournament will be held between 1 and 5 February as one of the warm-up events before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season at the Australian Open.

Djokovic, 33, will lead Serbia's defence of the title while Nadal, 34, will head Spain's bid to avenge last year's defeat in the final.

France will be among the other countries competing in the competition.

Tom Larner, the ATP Cup tournament director, said: “Last year we launched the global tennis season with the inaugural ATP Cup. It was a huge success with both players and fans and we are excited to present the second edition in Melbourne.

“The players are looking forward to stepping up and representing their countries again.”

The draw for the event will take place on 20 January when the 12 teams will be placed in four groups of three.

Each side will play two round robin matches of two singles and a doubles. The top team from each pool will advance to the semi-finals on 4 February. The final will be played on 5 February.

World number 11 Gael Monfils and the 28th ranked Benoit Paire will steer the French singles effort while Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin will add their guile for the doubles matches.

“This is a format that shows off the passion of the players and we're expecting some spectacular tennis action,” added Larner.

Competitors will have to arrive in Melbourne two weeks before the event to conform to quarantine regulations in the country.

Melbourne, capital of Victoria state, was the epicentre of Australia's largest second wave outbreak of the coronavirus, which started at two quarantine hotels for international arrivals.

More than 18,000 infections were recorded in Victoria during the outbreak and nearly 800 deaths.

Victoria recorded four new cases of coronavirus in Melbourne on Tuesday, including one in hotel quarantine.

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