Day one of the ATP Cup turned out to be quite eventful with three big stories.
Novak Djokovic paced Serbia’s win over Canada beating Denis Shapovalov in singles 7-5, 7-5 then teaming Filip Krajinovic to beat Shapovalov and Raonic.
“We don’t get to see crowds in the tennis stadiums these days so much, so it’s definitely a blessing. I’m really grateful to see you guys here in the stands,” Djokovic said.
“It was a very close match. Playing Shapo is always a great challenge on hard courts. He’s such a dynamic, explosive player; very talented. I thought we played on a very high level, so I’m really pleased with how I’ve started the season. This is the best way to kickstart the season, playing for your country.”
Djokovic is now 10-0 at the event after leading Serbia to the title last year.
Rafael Nadal surprise withdrawal didn’t hurt Spain’s chances as they swept home Australia 3-0 as Pablo Carreno Busta starred going 2-0.
Nadal pulled out of his match against Alex De Minaur due to a back problem. He hopes to good for Thursday.
He tweeted, “Hi all, we have decided with #TeamSpain and my team, to not play today the first match of the @ATPCup here in #Melbourne since I have a stiff low back. Hopefully I’ll be better for Thursday. We have a strong team, all the to @pablocarreno91 @BautistaAgut & @M_Granollers #vamos 🇪🇸”
Reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem had a tough start to 2021 going 0-2 in Austria’s 2-1 loss to Italy. Matteo Berrettini beat Thiem 6-2, 6-4 and then also in doubles.
Russia also looked good in a 2-1 win over Argentina. Andrey Rublev defeated Guido Pella and Daniil Medvedev powered past Diego Schwartzman to seal it.
“I’m really happy with the win of the team, because it’s not an individual competition,” said Medvedev. “I have some things that I can improve, but it’s the first match after two months without competition, which is never the same as practice. So I’m happy with the win.
“I think the key when I play Diego is that I serve a little bit better and that’s where I have my chances. For example, tonight, I was not really happy with my serve and I could have done better. He broke me three times, but I always had chances on his serve, so it’s a little bit tough for him, especially on hard surfaces.”
Today, Shapovalov returns to face Alexander Zverev and Germany. Medvedev will lead Russia against Kei Nishikori and Japan.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and the Greeks debut against Alex De Minaur’s home Aussie team and France opens up against Italy.
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