'It changes a lot whether Rafael Nadal plays or not', says former Top 5

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'It changes a lot whether Rafael Nadal plays or not', says former Top 5

The top three players in the world have arrived in Australia and are ready to experience a decidedly different "down under" summer compared to those they have experienced in past years. In fact, Covid-19 has imposed very strict directives but Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem are ready to play a reduced version of the ATP Cup and to take part in an Australian Open exceptionally moved to February with the same determination as always.

Djokovic landed wearing his own ATP Cup jacket and has already made it known that he wants to start 2021 with great strength, to show that he is still number one in the world and to make the "new generation" understand that his reign is destined to last a long time.

In these hours all the opponents are arriving in Australia, as to facilitate logistical transfers, Tennis Australia has organized fifteen charter flights from all over the world to allow players to land in the land of kangaroos.

And from this moment on, the fourteen-day quarantine imposed by the Victorian state government will be observed, before the start of the two ATP 250 tournaments scheduled in Melbourne starting January 31st. From 1 to 5 February, however, as mentioned, there will be the ATP Cup, which will see Novak Djokovic's Serbia try to defend the title they won last year, but it will be Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem who will try to ruin the party in Nole, without forgetting that the Italy of Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini will also be fighting for the title.

The first step towards the Australian appointments of the 2021 season has therefore been taken, now it will be up to the players and their staff to live this important month in the best possible way, naturally hoping that everything can go for the best in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent interview with Mundo Deportivo, Sergi Bruguera, now aged 50 and the captain of the current Spanish Davis Cup team, claimed it is not possible to talk about his and Nadal's achievements in the same breath. With the Davis Cup being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain didn't get a chance to defend the title they won in 2019, under the captaincy of Bruguera.

The 50-year-old is optimistic that the tournament will be held in 2021, but believes that it will all depend on the global health situation towards the end of the year.

Bruguera on the 2021 Davis Cup

Sergi Bruguera believes that six-time champions Spain will be among the favorites once again.

But he added that their chances would be much higher if Rafael Nadal, whom he commended for his dedication to the country, is part of the squad. "Spain is always a very competitive team and is among the favorites, but obviously it changes a lot whether Rafael Nadal plays or not," Bruguera said.

"He always wants to play for his country. You just have to see how he played and what he did in the 2019 edition. At the least he can, he will want to play, he is always ready."