Tennis: French team drafted, ATP points race, ubiquitous Covid … What you need to know before the start of the ATP Cup

World tennis is not spared by the wave of Covid-19. LATP Cup, which opens on Saturday 1January 1 and until January 9, bears the stigmata. Many players, positive for Covid-19, had to forfeit. What to redistribute the cards of the competition. A bad for a good for the Blues who, following the withdrawal of the Austrians, finally joined theAustralia for the thirdth edition of the tournament.

Organized since 2020 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) as an appetizer for the Australian Open, theATP Cup is the descendant of the World Team Cup (1978-2012). The last born of the team competitions keeps the same format, with matches of three matches (2 singles then 1 double), played in 2 winning sets.

In the calendar, it is the first international competition of the season for men. It usually opposes 24 teams in three Australian cities: Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. For the 2022 edition, the format has been restricted to 16 national teams (4 groups of 4 with group stage and final stage) due to Covid-19. Last year, 12 nations faced each other in the tournament, which ended in victory for Russia.

Sixteen teams, made up of 3 to 5 players, are therefore qualified this year. The qualification is based on the ATP ranking for the best player from each country the week after the US Open or during the Masters. For a nation to qualify, it must present at least three players with an ATP ranking (including two in individual). Initially deprived of competition due to the package of Gaël Monfils, best French player, the Blues were drafted at the last minute.

The packages of the two main Austrian players, Dominic Thiem (due to poor physical shape) and Dennis Novak (positive for Covid), pushedé the organizers to withdraw the nation from the competition. It is therefore France which will line up in group B with Ugo Humbert (35th worldwide) and Arthur Rinderknech (58th) in singles as well as the pair Fabrice Martin – Edouard Roger-Vasselin in doubles (8th). Nicolas Copin will be the captain of the France team.

So what makes the ATP Cup different from the Davis Cup? The version is certainly the same but the ATP Cup has the benefit of offering players points in the standings ATP, at the rate of 750 points in singles for the winners (a Grand Slam is worth 2000), in addition to significant gains (around 13.5 million euros in prize money in total). In doubles, a player can earn up to 250 points.

In labsence of Novak Djokovic, world No. 1 and withdrawal from the competition, Daniil Medvedev will be keen to start the year strong in Sydney. The Russian, who won 63 victories over the circuit ATP last season, could challenge Novak Djokovic’s stranglehold in 2022. The 25-year-old lost just one set in his four ATP Cup victories last season, and swept aside Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini, all Top 10 players.

France replaces Austria in a very tough hen. From Sunday, in the first match of group B, the Blues will meet the Russia of Daniil Medvedev with the clash between Arthur Rinderknech and Roman Safiullin. Favorites of the tournament, the Russians aim to retain their title. They will nevertheless have to do without Andrey Rublev, who is positive for Covid-19, as well as Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy, both sick.

On the course of the French also rises Italy, led by Matteo Berrettini (7th) and Fabio Fognini (37th). The Italian players, in full squad, will have a card to play. Serbia (winner in 2020), for its part, appears diminished by the absence of Novak Djokovic but will be able to count on Dusan Lajovic (33rd).

It will also be necessary to keep an eye on the Germany of Alexander Zverev and on the Canada of Felix Auger-Aliassime (deprived on the other hand of Denis Shapovalov, also positive for Covid-19). The ATP Cup starts on January 1, 2022, in a context of health crisis which is redrawing its contours and favorites.

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