Nadal and Djokovic arrive in Australia for ATP Cup

andrew hendrie:

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both touched down in Australia as they get set to begin their respective ATP Cup campaigns at the end of the week.

Nadal has arrived in Perth as he bids to lead Spain to their second team competition triumph in as many months after they prevailed at the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in November, while Djokovic is in Brisbane alongside his Serbian teammates.

The inaugural ATP Cup begins on Friday January 3, with 24 countries competing across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

After landing in Perth with Spanish teammates Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Feliciano Lopez, Nadal said he is looking forward to launching his new season in a team environment.

“We are looking forward to playing good here in the ATP Cup,” said the World No. 1.

“And then we are going to have one week in Melbourne before the tournament starts to prepare for the Australian Open.

“We are excited to be here and to try to compete well in this great event.”

Nadal put together an incredible 2019 season after being crushed in straight sets by Djokovic in the Australian Open final and missing a big chunk of the ensuing few months with injury, winning two more Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open, along with more Masters 1000 crowns in Rome and Canada.

The 19-time major champion leapfrogged Djokovic for the No. 1 spot in the last couple of weeks of the season and capped his year by guiding Spain to the Davis Cup Finals trophy.

Meanwhile, Djokovic – who will team up with Dusan Lajovic, Nikola Milojevic, Viktor Troicki, Nikola Cacic for Serbia – is itching to get back on court after a relatively disappointing end to last season.

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Djokovic added two more majors at the Australian Open and Wimbledon to his trophy cabinet, but an injury at the U.S. Open, where he retired in the fourth round, led to a difficult end to 2019.

“It’s great to be back. It has been a while since I was last here in Brisbane,” Djokovic said.

“I can’t wait for the inaugural ATP Cup. Australia always puts on a great show during January for tennis.

“And I’m sure the ATP Cup will be a blast.”

While Nadal and Djokovic are ready to compete at the ATP Cup, the other two members of the ‘Big Four’ won’t be playing.

Roger Federer, who has played several exhibition matches with Alexander Zverev across South America and Asia in December, isn’t playing for personal reasons, while Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from both the ATP Cup and Australian Open after failing to recover from a pelvic injury.

Nadal and Djokovic each begin their ATP Cup campaigns on Saturday January 4. Spain will face Georgia in Perth, while Serbia takes on South Africa in Brisbane.