Tennis is back! And oh how we've missed it. As we head in to the 2021 season, we take a look at the first team tournament of the year - The ATP Cup - and everything you need to know to get you up to speed.
ATP Cup Teams
The 2021 ATP Cup will take place over five days starting on 1st February at Melbourne Park.
Last year's tournament saw 24 countries competing in three different cities Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. However this year it's made up of just 12 countries and will take place in one venue due to coronavirus restrictions.
Qualification for the competition is given to the top 11 countries will the highest ATP Cup standings based on the singles FedEx ATP Ranking and entry of the country’s number one singles player.
Host country Australia has been granted a wild card into the event to make up the 12-team field.
This team competition, which is only in its second year, has a strong 2021 line-up with 14 of the Top 15 players taking part.
Novak Djokovic will lead team Team Serbia, the reigning champions, while Rafael Nadal will once again lead Team Spain who were last year's defeated finalists.
Russia's challenge looks strong with both ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev and fellow Top 10 star Andrey Rublev in the team, while World number three Dominic Thiem will try to lead Austria to glory.
Other top players competing include Stefanos Tsitipas (Greece), Alexander Zverev (Germany), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina), Matteo Berrettini (Italy), Kei Nishikori (Japan), Gael Monfils (France), Denis Shapovalov (Canada), while Alex de Minaur, fresh from his ATP 250 win at Antalya this month, will be carrying Australia's hopes.
ATP Cup Format
The draw will take place on Friday 22 January, at 12:00pm AEDT (1am GMT) and will be broadcast live on the ATP Cup facebook page.
Each team consists of four players per country and the 12 teams will be divided into four groups of three with a round-robin format.
The top four countries will be divided into separate groups, with countries ranked 5 to 8 randomly drawn, followed by countries ranked 9 to 12.
Each tie will be comprised of two singles matches and one doubles match and the country that wins two matches will win the tie.
Singles will be best-of-three tie-break sets while doubles will feature a match tie-break in lieu of a third set.
The four group winners will then advance to the semi-finals.
One of the great spectator aspects of this event is the allowance of on-court coaching by the team captain, coach or fellow player team members which usually leads to a lively atmosphere.
Singles Player can earn up to 500 FedEx ATP Rankings points, while doubles players can earn up to 250.
Where can I watch the ATP Cup?
UK viewers will be able to see all of the ATP Cup action on Amazon Prime while most of Europe will get coverage on EuroSport plus other localised sports channels.
For US viewers, The ATP Cup will be available on the Tennis Channel as part of their new media partnership with the ATP.
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