Melbourne (AP) – Tennis star Novak Djokovic led the Serbian team to their first win in the ATP Cup, while his Spanish colleague Rafael Nadal is concerned about his fitness shortly before the Australian Open.
The top two in the world rankings started a busy tennis week before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season in a very different way. The 34-year-old Nadal halted the start of the ATP Cup in Melbourne due to back problems. He and his team “decided not to play the first match of the ATP Cup here in Melbourne today, because I have a low back,” said another in the world rankings.
Even without its top player, last year’s finalist Spain won 3–0 against Australia at the start of the nations top-level competition. “Hopefully I’ll be better on Thursday,” Nadal recounted the upcoming duel with Greece.
The German tennis men around Alexander Zverev will start the ATP Cup against Canada on Wednesday (00.00 pm German time). On the first day of the tournament, defending champions Serbia, led by Djokovic, won 2–1 against Canada in the German preliminary group. Dusan Lajovich’s 3: 6, 4: 6 defeat against Milos Raonic, the world’s number one Djokovic, amused thousands of fans, beating Denis Shapovalov 7: 5, 7: 5. Djokovic / Filip Krajinovic won the final double with 7: 5, 7: 6 (7: 4) against Raonic / Shapovalov.
World number three Dominic Thiem should actually lead Austria to victory, but the Italian lost to Matto Beretini 2: 6, 4: 6. Their doubles were also lost, with the only Austrian point Denis Novak won against Fabio Fognini in 1: 2 against Italy with 6: 3, 6: 2. The respective winners of groups of only three advance to the semi-finals.
Swiss top star Roger Federer decided not to travel to Australia and would also be absent from the Australian Open starting on 8 February. The 39-year-old is planning his return to Doha from March 8 to the 13th. He confirmed this to Swiss radio and television SRF.
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