The pared-down ATP Cup has announced the four-man lineups for the 12 nations taking part in the second edition of the event.
Scheduled for Feb. 1-5, 2021 at Melbourne Park, it will be led by Novak Djokovic for Serbia and Rafael Nadal for Spain.
The draw takes place Jan. 20 in Melbourne, while the players are in their semi-quarantine and training for the Aussie summer.
Here are the lineups (obviously, subject to change).
Roberto Bautista Agut
Pablo Carreno Busta
Alex de Minaur
As you can see, there are a lot of fairly high-ranked players missing on the various teams.
They are a casualty of the ATP Cup rules, which require the two top-ranked singles players to take the court for every tie (injuries notwithstanding).
As a result, players like Karen Khachanov of Russia, Félix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Nick Kyrgios of host wild-card national Australia won’t be in the event.
Add to that the exciting young Italian Jannik Sinner.
Team Italy not maximizing ATP Cup
Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, who is a fine singles player in addition to forming a formidable doubles pairing with Nicolas Mahut, is skipping it – likely because he won’t get any singles practice. So is French No. 3 Ugo Humbert.
The No. 3 and No. 4 players for Italy, which boasts seven players in the top 80 in singles, are Simone Bolelli (No. 509 in singles, No. 68 in doubles) and … Andrea Vavassori (a 25-year-old ranked No. 315 in singles and No. 94 in doubles).
For Russia, Aslan Karatsev is the fourth-best singles player. But it’s a long dropoff from No. 20 (which is Khachanov) and No. 112, which is Karatsev’s ranking.
The fourth player for Russia is Evgeny Donskoy, No. 122 in singles.
As it happens, Khachanov (No. 80) and Rublev (No. 82) are the nation’s top-ranked doubles players. So they don’t have any specialists, per se.
And let’s not get into the Greece situation.
Pervolarakis is at No. 458, Kalovelonis at No. 736 and Petros Tsitsipas, the younger brother of Stefanos, is at No. 960 (No. 775 in doubles).