With the ATP Cup, the tour’s first team tournament since 2012, set to begin in the three Australian cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth on Friday, here’s a look at the five biggest names missing in action.
Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland)
The decision by Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka to miss the inaugural tournament means Switzerland – ranked third at the time of the draw – will not feature in the ATP Cup.
A decision that had fans and organisers both disappointed, Federer opted to give the tournament a skip to “spend an extra two weeks with family at home.” The Swiss maestro’s decision came right after Wawrinka had decided to skip the tournament. The 38-year-old Federer has his eyes on another Grand Slam title – rival Rafael Nadal is just one behind his 20 – and the Tokyo Olympic Games, which will possibly be his last attempt at winning singles gold at the quadrennial event.
READ | Nadal insists ATP Cup about much more than Australian Open preparation
Meanwhile, world No. 16 Wawrinka remained committed to the Qatar Open, which clashes with the ATP Cup.
The duo, doubles gold medallists at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, would have been serious contenders for the title had they decided to take part.
Andy Murray (Great Britain)
The ATP’s Comeback Player of the Year will not just be missing the ATP Cup, he’ll also be skipping the Australian Open, a year after he indicated that it could be the final time he’d played at the year’s opening Grand Slam. A nagging pelvic injury – the Scotsman had hip resurfacing done last year – saw Murray banish plans of a return to the circuit anytime soon.
In Murray’s absence, the focus shifts back to Dan Evans – another redemption story. The 29-year-old, two years after his ban for recreational drug usage, will be leading Great Britain as its highest ranked player.
Kei Nishikori (Japan)
The world No. 13 will not be part of his nation’s bid at the ATP Cup. An injury picked up in the off season forced Nishikori to move forward with right elbow surgery. The setback will see the 2014 US Open finalist decide against participating in the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, much along the lines of Murray. Go Soeda, 35, will replace him at the helm of Japan’s campaign.
Matteo Berrettini (Italy)
Italy’s ATP Cup campaign has hit a minor roadblock as Berrettini succumbed to an abdominal injury. After a lull in the early half of 2019, the 23 year old broke into the top 10 in the world in late October, evening earning praise from Federer before the US Open. The onus now remains on Fabio Fognini to lead the Italian charge as Italy’s highest-ranked player in Berretini’s absence. World No. 148 Alessandro Giannessi replaces Berrettini in the squad ahead of its exciting season opener against Russia on Friday in Perth.
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