The third edition of the ATP Cup will surely bring many surprises this coming year. It was just confirmed today that world number one Novak Djokovic will not be at the event. Despite this, Serbia remains the number one seed with two top-50 singles players on their side in Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic.
With the two top seeds at less than full strength, the team tournament is wide open for anyone to take.
Group A Breakdown
Serbia is drawn with Norway, Chile, and Spain. Despite being the lowest-seeded team, Spain enters as the slight favorite to win this group. On the court, the Spaniards arguably have the best pair of hard court players. On top of that, Pablo Carreno Busta is one of the more accomplished doubles players on any of the team's rosters.
Doubles will be a key factor in this group (which will be the case for most). Serbia boasts two doubles specialists in Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov which could put them over the top.
Casper Ruud and Cristian Garin star for Norway and Chile respectively, but the rest of their teams don't contain the additional firepower to get them over the hump. Ruud will be able to keep his country competitive given his hard-court record and form over the last year.
Prediction: Spain, Serbia, Norway, Chile.
Group B Breakdown
The reigning champions headline Group B alongside Italy, France, and host country Australia. With full capacity crowds at the time of writing, the host nation will definitely be able to use that to their advantage. After having broken down the roster of Team Russia already, we'll take a look at what the other countries have.
Second-seed Italy boasts a deep roster with Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego, Simone Bolelli, and Fabio Fognini. Berrettini returns to action for the first time since withdrawing from the ATP Finals in Milan. Fognini was the former headliner for the Italians but will now likely play a key role in doubles with his former partner Bolelli.
France has Ugo Humbert, Arthur Rinderknech, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, and Fabrice Martin with the latter two players as their primary doubles team. Rinderknech will be the biggest wildcard of this group.
The Frenchman made his breakthrough last year after working his way up through various Challengers and Futures over the last couple of years. He continued to win Challengers and qualified for main draws at the tour-level and Grand Slams to get into the top-60. He owns a win over Sinner who he will likely play again at this event.
This group will likely be one of the toughest groups to call along with Group C. France doesn't hold their usual arsenal but could still sneak through. Australia has the players and could will their way to the final four with the backing of the crowd. Italy has one of the best rosters from top-to-bottom while Russia could still sneak out because Medvedev is at the helm.
Prediction: Italy, Australia, Russia, France
Group C Breakdown
In terms of all-out singles rosters, this group can easily say they boast the best eight. There will surely not be one match that isn't high-quality.
Canada stars their two young guns in Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Alliassime. Germany has Olympic Gold Medalist Alexander Zverev and Jan-Lennard Struff. The United States has former Masters winner John Isner and last year's Indian Wells runner-up in Taylor Fritz. Great Britain has the Breakthrough Player of 2021 in Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans.
Canada is the only side who doesn't hold key doubles players on its team and will likely rely on their two singles players in the doubles ties as well; Shapovalov has had success with Rohan Bopanna in the past and Auger-Alliassime won titles with Hubert Hurkacz this past year.
Germany has Kevin Krawietz and Tim Putz ready, the United States will have Rajeev Ram likely partnering Brandon Nakashima or the other singles players, and Great Britain hold Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray.
Norrie, along with many others, want to build on strong 2021 campaigns so getting off on the right foot in this group will be very important. The cards are in place for what should be a frantic finish for the top spot in Group C.
Prediction: Germany, Canada, Great Britain, USA
Group D Breakdown
Group D could stand for Group of Death but not this time around. At the ATP Cup this year, it's more like the Group of Doubt. Why doubt? There is an uncertainty in the air of who will make it out as there is no clear-cut favorite.
Argentina holds the two best singles players by combined ranking, but Federico Delbonis has historically been more of a clay-court player compared to his compatriot Diego Schwartzman. Maximo Gonzalez will partner with Andres Molteni for Team Argentina.
Greece has historically played their best doubles when Stefanos Tsitsipas and Michail Pervolarakis play together, so likely they'll be on double duty. Poland hopes Jan Zielinski and Szymon Walkow can continue to play well together, but if not, Hurkacz can always slide into partner Zielinski.
Georgia hopes to spring a surprise with Aleksandre Metreveli, Aleksandre Bakshi, Zura Tkemaldze, and Saba Purtseladze along with Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Tsitsipas is coming off elbow surgery so his level will be the lingering question from this group. It's not the easiest start for him at all as he takes on Hurkacz in his opener. The pair of gone three sets in five consecutive matches so expect fireworks between them.
Prediction: Greece, Poland, Argentina, Georgia
Semifinals and Finals Predictions
Spain def. Greece
Germany def. Italy
Germany def. Spain