ATP Cup 2021: Players, format, schedule, timings, TV coverage and who said what
Slimmed down ATP Cup 2021 gets underway on Tuesday with smaller field of 12 nations and a lighter prize cheque.
Novak Djokovic will lead defending champions Serbia into the ATP Cup in Melbourne that gets underway on Tuesday (2 February). Rafael Nadal will spearhead the challenge for last year's runners-up Spain at the 12-team tournament.
The ATP Cup 2021 is a 12 country tournament with three teams in four groups. Australia, the hosts, come in as wildcards. The tournament was initially supposed to feature 24 teams and played across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney at the start of January. But COVID-19 has curtailed the field and rescheduled the event - including the Australian Open that gets going from 8 February.
Additionally, the tournament's prize money has also been halved to $7.5 million to reflect a pandemic-affected budget.
The 12 teams have been drawn into four groups of three each with group winners progressing to the semi-finals. Each tie will be decided by two singles matches and a doubles contest. All matches will be best of three sets.
In doubles contests, there will be no-ad scoring. In case of deuce, the pair winning the next point win the game.
Since the tournament comes under the ATP Tour's umbrella, the governing body for men's tennis, players will earn ranking points for their matches. A singles player that goes undefeated will earn a maximum of 500 points and 250 points are up for grabs in the doubles department.
Group A: Serbia, Germany, Canada
Group B: Spain, Greece, Australia
Group C: Austria, Italy, France
Group D: Russia, Argentina, Japan
Argentina: Diego Schwartzman (c), Guido Pella, Horacio Zeballos, Maximo Gonzalez
Australia: Alex de Minaur, John Millman, John Peers, Luke Saville, Lleyton Hewitt (non-playing captain)
Austria: Dominic Thiem, Dennis Novak, Philipp Oswald, Tristan-Samuel Weissborn, Wolfgang Thiem (non-playing captain)
Canada: Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic, Steven Diez, Peter Polansky (c)
France: Gael Monfils, Benoit Paire, Nicolas Mahut, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Richard Ruckelshausen (non-playing captain)
Germany: Alexander Zverev, Jan-Lennard Struff, Kevin Krawietz, Andreas Mies, Mischa Zverev (non-playing captain)
Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Michail Pervolarakis, Markos Kalovelonis, Petros Tsitsipas, Apostolos Tsistipas (non-playing captain)
Italy: Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Simone Bolleli, Andrea Vavassori, Vincenzo Santopadre (non-playing captain)
Japan: Kei Nishikori, Yoshihito Nishioka, Ben McLachlan, Toshihide Matsui, Max Mirnyi (non-playing captain)
Russia: Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev, Evgeny Donskoy (c)
Serbia: Novak Djokovic, Dušan Lajović, Filip Krajinović, Nikola Ćaćić, Viktor Troicki (non-playing captain)
Spain: Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Marcel Granollers, Pepe Vendrell (non-playing captain)
Morning session: Serbia vs Canada (Group A), Austria vs Italy (Group C)
Evening session: Spain vs Australia (Group B), Russia vs Argentina (Group D)
Morning session: Germany vs Canada (Group A), Italy vs France (Group C)
Evening session: Greece vs Australia (Group B), Russia vs Japan (Group D)
Morning session: Serbia vs Germany (Group A), Austria vs France (Group C)
Evening session: Spain vs Greece (Group B), Argentina vs Japan (Group D)
Dates, timing and TV coverage
The matches will be played on two courts - Rod Laver Arena and John Cain Arena - which will allow for multiple matches to be played simultaneously.
The morning session will get underway at 4.30 AM IST (10 AM Melbourne time) and evening session at 12 PM IST (5.30 PM Melbourne time).
Group stage matches will be played from Tuesday through Thursday, semi-finals on Friday and final on Saturday.
ATP Cup 2021 will be available on Eurosport and Eurosport HD in India and Tennis TV via live streaming across the globe.
Who said what
“We're all going to be just happy and glad that the tournaments are here for us to play. Hopefully, by the time the tournament starts, everybody is going to be ready in the best possible way for the event.” - Japan's non-playing captain Max Miryni.
"I am new to play this tournament, so I'm a little bit nervous. I don't know how it's going to be. I will just try to play my best tennis. I feel okay after being two weeks in a room." - Japan's Kei Nishikori.
“Last year we had bad results. We didn't win any matches in doubles. We are really excited to play again. We'll try, for sure, our best to win all matches we can and help the team to win games and to qualify for the semi-finals." - France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin
“Just most important for me is the team. If we win with the team, it's good. After, even if I lose, it doesn't matter, if the team wins. I'm going to try to prepare to do as good a match against Fognini as I can on Wednesday. I really enjoyed last year. I want to do the same and enjoy with the team.” - France's Benoit Paire
“I think we are all really excited to play, really excited to come back and play with crowd also, as well. It's been a long time... It's nice to play with a team. We're a strong team. We're good friends. It's going to be nice.” - Italy's Matteo Berrettini
“We are lucky that we are here and we play with a big crowd on court,” Fognini said. “My opinion, the player that I am, the person that I am, I feel I need [the crowd] because, of course, sometimes I'm a bit crazy. I do something special in every sense, but I really enjoy." - Italy's Fabio Fognini
“I played [the ATP Cup] last year. Actually, I was the only one to play it from [this year’s] Team Russia. I only thought about this right now. It's always cool, these team competitions, because it puts you out of the zone a little bit where you are always focusing on yourself… You want to win it as a team.
“You have a team supporting you, behind you, on the bench. It's something special. We are playing for the country. It's not usual [to have] team competitions in tennis. Actually, I think guys will feel it from the first second, especially [when] there [is] going to be a crowd.” - Russia's Daniil Medvedev
“It's going to be my first experience here. It's amazing to be part of with such a great guys, especially when Donskoy is the captain. I think we have a great team. You always have to be in reality and understand that all the players are playing so good. All the teams are strong. They have all the top players here. It's going to be really tough." - Russia's Andrey Rublev
“I’ve missed seeing crowds in the stands the most. At this stage of my career, after playing professional tennis for more than 15 years, that is one of the biggest driving forces or motivations, inspirations. Playing in front of a crowd, feeding off that energy and exchanging great passion and joy that I, and the fans, have for the sport.
“This country has done a great job dealing with this virus. I'm grateful that we have an opportunity to practise, to play and to compete in the sport that we love. We are all excited to be here.” - Serbia's Novak Djokovic
"I'm really looking forward to this. I hope with my experience, and with my help, we can achieve again the same result this year. I know there's a lot of tough teams. We have a tough group, but I have a huge trust in my boys, this team. I hope we go all the way also this year.” - Serbia's non-playing captain Viktor Troicki
“This honestly is my favourite event. I feel that [we've been] given a very good opportunity... able to compete with all the boys that I've known for so long. It unites us, it gives us the opportunity to play for something more special. To feel proud when we're out on the court playing tennis.
“People are going to be cheering our name, and being louder than any other nation, it's great. Greeks are very proud, and especially the Greeks of Australia. They are twice as proud as back home… There's an extra reason for me to go out and represent, play well. There's a lot of support that we're going to have this week. I'm very, very happy and glad that we have such a huge army backing us up.” - Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas
“[We will] try to give to the fans around the world and the fans here in Australia a good show. For some of the people who are suffering a lot at home, we will try to [provide] good entertainment for them.
“I just [want to] congratulate the country for an amazing effort… to contain the virus here. It’s one of the best examples in the world about how to do the things well in this particular case. We appreciate so much the effort that the country and Tennis Australia have done to allow us to be here and play our sport.” - Spain's Rafael Nadal
"In my opinion, Spain is a country that loves to play as a team. We have this culture since we were young… In ATP Cup, it's a competition by teams. You play for your country. I think it's a great experience for everyone.” - Spain's non-playing captain Pepe Vendrell
“I feel like I'm ready. I'm really looking forward to going out there and stepping out on court and competing in Australia. It's been a long time coming so I'm very pumped, that's for sure. ” - Australia's Alex de Minaur
“This is a massive highlight for me. I've been working very hard for this moment to represent Australia. It's been 10 years since I played Junior Davis Cup, so... I'm thrilled to be here alongside these guys." - Australia's Luke Saville
"I feel like I'm playing really good tennis in practice. Of course, it's the start of the season so there's really not many expectations. You just kind of go out there and see where your level is at... It's really fun to be back out here playing, competing, especially with this group of guys. It's events like this that I enjoy the most.” - Canada's Denis Shapovalov
“I'm happy and eager to be here [and] to play alongside these gentlemen. For me, always a little bit of a longer break is a good thing. It ended up being a lot longer, sort of double the off-season that we're used to. I was able to train without any physical issues. So I'm excited about starting up now.” - Canada's Milos Raonic
“I've been working extremely hard in the off-season. I'd like to think that I did everything I could to be as well-prepared as I can be… I definitely want to perform better for my team, for myself. [I want to] give ourselves the best chance that we can to go deep here.”
“We'll know exactly where I'm at, know exactly how my level is, know exactly what I need to improve still. There are no easy matches. I think that just shows at the ATP Cup.” - Germany's Alexander Zverev
“It's a unique experience… I hope we can, first of all, have a good time together as a team and win some matches. I think the biggest challenge for every captain is to create a team spirit so that every member of the team is really feeling like they're an important part of the whole ensemble. We go out there, we win together, we lose together, but at the end of the day we still have dinner as a team and we can still smile and laugh and get ready for the next days.” - Germany's non-playing captain Mischa Zverev
"Our head-to-head is tied 2-2 [vs Berrettini]. Towards the end of 2019 we had three amazing matches in deep stages of big tournaments, high quality. Looking forward to play him again. We have a very good relationship, always fun matches against each other."
"But he's a big, big player, so I'm also not too happy that he's the first guy I have to face in a new year after quite a while without an official match. It's going to be interesting." - Austria's Dominic Thiem
“I have two tough opponents with Fabio (Fognini) and Benoit (Paire). I played both of them already, so I know what I can expect. But I'm very (much) looking forward (to it). We prepared really well. I think it's a good preparation for the (Australian Open) also.” - Austria's Dennis Novak
“After quarantine, we enjoy the city, (and being) together. We have some dinner together. We can enjoy the city, (do) some tourist (activities). I think that is good to be back in the normal life.” - Argentina's Maximo Gonzalez
“I'm not very happy to start against Daniil. I finished last year against him. It's going to be tough tomorrow because he's playing his best…For me it's also a good preparation, (a) good first match. I think I have more chances in the first match of the year than maybe when he (had his normal) rhythm.
“Russia has a great team. I think for us, it's a good preparation, (a) good start (to) the year. We are going to be there to fight every point.” - Argentina's Diego Schwartzman
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