Some very good players are competing in this year’s ATP Cup
The 2022 tennis season kicks off in Australia with the ATP Cup.
Russia won the competition this year by defeating Italy 2-0 in the final. The Russians won their group ahead of Argentina and Japan. Joining them in the semifinals were Germany, Italy and Spain, who narrowly edged out Greece and Australia.
Russia defeated Germany 2-1 in the semifinals. Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev won their singles matches against Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berretini respectively, making the doubles match a mere formality. Italy joined them in the final after defeating Spain 3-0.
16 teams will compete in the tournament in 2022, four more than 2021. Norway, Chile, Great Britain and the United States will make their return after missing the previous edition.
However, Italy have just as good a chance of winning as they have two top 10 players in Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Canada is another country to look out for as Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime can impress in the competition.
Great Britan and the United States should not be written off either as they have got players who are capable of scripting an upset.
There are some notable absentees this year. Reports suggest that Novak Djokovic, whose Australian Open participation remains in doubt, could withdraw from the tournament. Dominic Thiem will also miss the competition, which is a massive blow for Austria. Another notable absentee is Andrey Rublev who will not feature in the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19.
However, the tournament will still feature some top players who can mesmerize spectators with their brilliant performance. So, without any further ado, let us take a look at 5 players to watch out for in this year’s ATP Cup.
#5. Hubert Hurkacz
Hurkacz is Poland’s trump card in the ATP Cup
Poland are back in the ATP Cup this year. They have been drawn alongside Greece, Argentina and Georgia. So they have a good chance of topping the group.
Hubert Hurkacz is going to be a key player if the Poles are to win their group and qualify for the semifinals. The 24-year-old had a decent 2021 season. He won his first Masters 1000 title in Miami and reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. His steady performances saw Hurkacz become the first man from Poland to reach the top 10 of the ATP rankings.
The World No. 9 will need to be at his best if Poland are to fare well in the tournament. Hurkacz has a couple of challenging matches ahead as he will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas on January 1 and Diego Schwartzman on January 5.
#4. Jannik Sinner
Sinner will be keen on helping Italy win this year’s ATP Cup
Italy reached the final of this year’s ATP Cup and in 2022, they have a fair chance of going all the way. They are the only team in the entire competition who have two top 10 players.
Jannik Sinner is among the finest young talents in the game and had a very good 2021 season. He won four ATP titles, the biggest of which was at the Washington Open. He also reached his maiden Masters 1000 final in Miami.
Sinner’s exploits saw him become the first player born in the 21st century to reach the top 10 of the ATP rankings.
The 20-year-old will be keen to help Italy win the ATP Cup next month. However, reaching the semifinals will be challenging, as they are drawn in the same group as reigning champions Russia.
With his current form, Sinner should be able to win all of his matches in the group stage. But one opponent that could give him a tough fight is Aslan Karatsev.
#3. Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas is one of the players to watch out for this year
Over the past couple of years, Stefanos Tsitsipas has established himself as one of the best players in the world. In 2021, he continued his good run of form. The Greek won his first Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo and reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
Greece will rely heavily on the World No. 4 during the tournament. The Greeks came close to reaching the semifinals this year. Tsitsipas will take on Hurkacz and Diego Schwartzman in two highly-anticipated group matches.
#2. Alexander Zverev
Nitto ATP World Tour Finals – Day Eight
The German has done incredibly well over the past couple of years and 2021 was perhaps the best year of his career so far. Alexander Zverev won two Masters 1000 titles at Madrid and Cincinnati, and reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the US Open.
Zverev also won the Olympic gold in Tokyo in men’s singles. He capped off 2021 by winning the ATP Finals for the second time in his career.
Zverev helped Germany reach the semifinals of the ATP Cup in 2021. This time, he will be keen on leading them to victory at the competition. The 24-year-old will face some tough opponents in Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
#1. Daniil Medvedev
Medvedev will be keen on helping Russia retain the ATP Cup
The Russian had an impressive 2021 as he won four titles, including his first Grand Slam at the US Open. He also reached the final of the Australian Open, Paris Masters and the ATP Finals.
Medvedev finished the year by helping Russia lift the Davis Cup trophy. The 25-year-old has proven that he is capable of challenging Djokovic. Medvedev has a fair chance of dethroning the Serb next month if the latter misses the Australian Open. If Medvedev can remain unbeaten in the ATP Cup and win the Asia-Pacific Grand Slam, he will become the new World No. 1.
But first, he will be looking to help Russia defend their ATP Cup crown. They could face a stiff challenge from Italy in the group stage.
Medvedev’s match against Berrettini on January 6 is one of the most anticipated group-stage matches at the 2022 ATP Cup.