The second annual ATP Cup team competition is upon us, and in addition to ATP stars making their first big appearances of the season, some special guests will share the spotlight in the captain's spot.

Captains are chosen by the No. 1 singles player on each team, and they have on-court–coaching privileges in addition to the duty of determining the doubles pairings.

The decision can go in many different directions. For example, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev all decided to keep in the family, with Tsitsipas and Thiem each choosing their fathers, Apostolos and Wolfgang, and Zverev going with older brother Mischa.

(Apostolos found himself unexpectedly in the spotlight during the 2020 edition, when Stefanos accidentally grazed his dad's arm on an angry racquet smash.)


Denis Shapovalov's Canada and Alex de Minaur's Australia chose Peter Polansky and Lleyton Hewitt respectively ...

While top-seeded Serbia, led by Novak Djokovic, picked former No. 12 Viktor Troicki. Russia, too, went with a still-active player in Evgeny Donskoy.


Rafael Nadal's No. 2 seed Spain selected Pepe Vendrell, coach of Roberto Bautista Agut, and Matteo Berrettini, for Italy, picked his own coach, Vincenzo Santopadre. Two unusual choices, but these are unprecedented times: France is bringing Austrian former player Richard Ruckelshausen, and Japan's Kei Nishikori selected Belarusian doubles icon Max Mirnyi.

Argentina No. 1 Diego Schwartzman initially assumed the captain's role himself, before former No. 20 Jose Acasuso stepped up for the job.

The ATP Cup kicked off on Tuesday (Monday in the U.S.) with Italy topping Austria, 2-1, and Serbia easing past Canada, 2-1. The night matches were more one-sided with Spain overpowering Australia 3-0 and Russia winning both singles matches in a 2-1 win over Argentina.