The draw for the ATP Cup took place on Friday, with the 12 participating nations divided up into four groups of three for the team event, which takes place Monday to Friday, February 1 to 5, 2021.
The round-robin stage will see every country play the other two countries in their group, with each tie including two singles matches and one doubles match. The singles matches will see the No. 1s play each other and No. 2s play each other. The first team to win two matches in the tie wins that tie, and the four teams that finish first in their groups move on to the semifinals, which are knock-out format.
With 12 of the Top 13 players on the ATP rankings in the field, there were bound to be some fantastic match-ups in the round-robin stage—and they definitely materialized after Friday’s draw.
Here’s a run-down of each of the four groups at the 2021 ATP Cup:
Group A: Serbia (No. 1 seed), Germany, Canada
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was the class of the field at the inaugural ATP Cup last year, winning all six of his matches to lead Serbia to the title. He probably won’t have an easy time in the round-robin stage this year, though, with No. 7 Alexander Zverev and No. 12 Denis Shapovalov in his group.
Djokovic has a 4-2 record against Zverev, falling to the German in two big finals—Rome in 2017 and the ATP Finals in 2018. And while he’s 5-0 against Shapovalov, their last meeting, which was at this event last year, could have gone either way, with the Serb barely squeaking by, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
No. 2s: Dusan Lajovic (Serbia), Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) and Milos Raonic (Canada).
Group B: Spain (No. 2 seed), Greece, Australia
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal led Spain into the final last year, winning four of his five matches along the way before running into a dialed-in Djokovic, falling to the Serb in straight sets. This year, Nadal will kick off his tournament with matches against No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 23 Alex de Minaur.
Nadal leads Tsitsipas in their head-to-head, 6-1, which includes 4-0 on hard courts. The Spaniard is 3-0 against De Minaur, but like Djokovic and Shapovalov their last meeting also came here at the ATP Cup last year, and it was a nail-biter—Nadal barely survived that one in the semifinals, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
No. 2s: Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain), Michail Pervolarakis (Greece) and John Millman (Australia).
Group C: Austria, Italy, France
No. 3-ranked Dominic Thiem will look for redemption at the ATP Cup this year, having gone 1-2 in the round-robin stage last year as Austria didn’t make the cut for the semifinals. This year he’ll take on No. 10 Matteo Berrettini and No. 11 Gael Monfils in his group, a mixed bag given their head-to-heads—he’s an even 2-2 against Berrettini, but a perfect 6-0 against Monfils, also winning their last 11 sets.
No. 2s: Dennis Novak (Austria), Fabio Fognini (Italy) and Benoit Paire (France).
Group D: Russia, Argentina, Japan
No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, No. 9 Diego Schwartzman and former No. 4 (current No. 41) Kei Nishikori will lead their countries to battle in Group D, with Medvedev on the run of his life—he won 10 matches in a row to finish off 2020, which included seven wins over Top 10 players, lifting a Masters 1000 title in Paris and his biggest title yet at the ATP Finals. Can he keep his winning streak going at the ATP Cup?
No. 2s: Andrey Rublev (Russia), Guido Pella (Argentina) and Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan).
** Group D is the only group with three Top 10 players in it (Russia’s No. 2, Rublev, is ranked No. 8).