- 02 Feb 2021
The two things you need to know: Nadal injury scare, Djokovic wins
World No 2 Nadal looked good in his exhibition win over Dominic Thiem in Adelaide last week but after two weeks in quarantine – albeit with the ability to practice each day – he is erring on the side of caution. The Spaniard, who has had more than his share of bad luck with injuries in Australia over the years, said he hopes to be fit for his second match in the competition, scheduled for Thursday.
Spain’s strength in depth is legendary, though, and even without their main man, they still enjoyed victory over Australia on day one. First Pablo Carreno Busta beat John Millman 6-2, 6-4 and then Roberto Bautista Agut came from behind to beat Alex de Minaur 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
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 🇪🇸
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) February 2, 2021
Group A: Djokovic hits ground running
Meanwhile, world No 1 Novak Djokovic kicked off his 2021 campaign with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov. The pair played out a classic in the inaugural ATP Cup 12 months ago and Shapovalov pushed Djokovic hard again but it was the world No 1 who came out on top for champions Serbia.
Milos Raonic beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in the other singles match but Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic were too good for Raonic and Shapovalov, claiming victory 7-5, 7-6 to give Serbia the win in the opening match.
Group C: Thiem beaten as Italy upset Austria
Dominic Thiem will have to shake off a little rust, it seems, after he was upset 6-2, 6-4 by Matteo Berrettini. The Austrians levelled the match when Denis Novak beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-2 but the Italians joined forces to win the doubles 6-1, 6-4.
“Towards the end it got better from my side, but actually I’m never the guy who has the greatest starts to a new season or after a long time off,” Thiem said. “There’s many, many things to improve and to adjust still. Well, it doesn’t make it easier that I had to face a top-10 opponent in the first match after quite a long time.”
Russia too good for Argentina
Andrey Rublev ended 2020 on fire and it looks like he might be set for a big 2021 too. The Russian crushed Guido Pella 6-1, 6-2 in Group D and then Daniil Medvedev saw off Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-3 to seal an unassailable lead.
Also read: Nadal v Djokovic, Tsitsipas brothers, father and son Thiem – 8 things you need to know about the ATP Cup
Also read: 10 questions about the 2021 ATP CUP – tickets, schedule, competitors and more!