Australia’s top tennis players will be eager to get their 2022 ATP Cup campaign off to a winning start when they hit the court in Sydney on January 2.
The hosts have been handed an extremely tough draw for the tournament alongside Italy, Russia and Austria in Group B.
Bookmakers rate top seeds Serbia, led by world number one Novak Djokovic, as one of the favourites to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.
However, reigning 2021 ATP Cup and David Cup Champions Russia could be tough to beat with top stars Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in their line-up.
The best betting apps in Australia have forecast that the hosts will struggle to get out of the group, with only top spot progressing to the knockout stage.
Australia will need to get off to a winning start to have any chance of making it through to the last four of the tournament.
Read on as we assess Australia’s hopes of upsetting the odds in their opening group game against Italy in early January.
ATP Cup Squads
- Alex de Minaur
- James Duckworth
- Max Purcell
- John Peers
- Luke Saville
- Matteo Berrettini
- Jannik Sinner
- Lorenzo Sonego
- Simone Bolelli
- Fabio Fognini
ATP Cup Previous Records
Australia have had a mixed time of things in the previous two editions of the ATP Cup, losing to Spain in the semi-finals in 2020 before crashing out in the group stage last year.
Italy finished second in their group in 2020 but missed out on the knockout stage as they were not one of the two best runners-up.
They progressed to the final last year but found Russia too hot to handle and were comfortably beaten 2-0.
ATP Cup Preview and Prediction
Each country at the ATP Cup will field a team of up to five players, with every tie comprising two singles matches and one doubles match.
Alex de Minaur and James Duckworth are likely to feature in the singles against Italy but could have their work cut out against higher-ranked opponents.
Italy have two top 10 players in their squad – Matteo Berrettini (7) and Jannik Sinner (10) – both of who will be expected to win their respective matches.
De Minaur has yet to defeat either player in three previous attempts, although he was competitive in each of those encounters.
Duckworth has never faced Berrettini on the ATP Tour, but he does have three meetings with Sinner on his record.
His only victory came at the ATP Masters 1000 Canada in August 2021, when he secured an impressive 6-3, 6-4 win in the round of 32.
Australia will undoubtedly be hoping that either de Minaur or Duckworth can pick up a win ahead of what could be a decisive doubles match.
Peers is currently ranked 13th in the world for doubles, while Saville and Purcell are both inside the top 35.
Bolelli is Italy’s highest-ranked doubles player at 25 in the world, potentially giving Australia an edge in the final encounter.
While Berrettini and Sinner are both capable doubles players, playing twice in one day this early in the season may be an issue.
With home advantage to help them, Australia may well give Italy a run for their money in this tournament.
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