'Rafael Nadal was deferential', says top journalist

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'Rafael Nadal was deferential', says top journalist

The Spanish team led by Roberto Bautista and Pablo Carreño will have to face one of the great favorites, Novak Djokovic's Serbia, after the draw for the group stage of the ATP Cup held this Tuesday in Sydney included both combined, along with Norway and Chile, in group A.

Bautista will be responsible for taking on the world's top ranked Djokovic in the first singles match, while Carreño will have to face second Serbian player Dusan Lajovic. The Castellón already knows what it is like to beat the Belgrade tennis player on hard court after his triumphs in Miami and Doha in 2019, as well as in Shanghai in 2016.

Regarding the other two rivals of Spain in the group stage, Norway will have Casper Ruud as a reference while Cristian Garín will be in charge of leading Chile. The third edition of the ATP Cup will be held in Sydney between January 1 and 9, and will feature the participation of 16 countries that will be divided into four groups.

The confrontations will consist of two singles matches that will face the second seeds first and then the first seeds, as well as a doubles match after the end of the last individual match. The Serbian team was the winner in the first edition in 2020 after Djokovic prevailed during the final in his individual match against Rafael Nadal and later in the doubles with his teammate Viktor Troicki against the Spanish Pablo Carreño and Feliciano López.

However, those in charge of defending the crown will be the Russians, led once again by Medvedev and Rublev, after their final victory over Italy in the final of 2021. Russia, current champion of the Davis Cup held in Madrid during the month of December, will start their way in a group B which will also include Italy, Austria and host Australia.

Christopher Clarey on Rafa Nadal

Renowned sports journalist Christopher Clarey recently revealed that Roger Federer had a really 'tough' time accepting Novak Djokovic. He also explained why the Swiss maestro has a good and healthy relationship with Rafael Nadal and not with Novak Djokovic.

"Rafael Nadal was Roger's first major challenger," he said. "By the time Roger made peace, Djokovic came along. Federer had a tough time to accept. Rafa was deferential, Djokovic did impressions; perhaps Federer didn't much appreciate," concluded Clarey.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are all tied at 20 Majors each at the end of the 2021 season. Who will end his career with the most number of Grand Slam titles?