World no. 2 Rafael Nadal will not play Spain’s first ATP Cup tie against hosts Australia on Tuesday. The Spaniard posted an update on his social media channels and stated that his non-participation was due to a stiff back.
Nadal said, “Hi all, we have decided with #TeamSpain and my team, to not play today the first match of the @ATPCup here in #Melbourne since I have a stiff low back. Hopefully, I’ll be better for Thursday. We have a strong team, all the to @pablocarreno91 @BautistaAgut & @M_Granollers #vamos”
Spain has been grouped along with Australia and Greece.
Australia and Spain will be playing in the night session on the opening day of the 2021 edition of the event. As a result of the Mallorcan not playing, Pablo Carreno Busta will play the first singles rubber against John Millman.
The second singles rubber will be between Spanish no. 2 Roberto Bautista Agut and Alex de Minaur. Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers will play the doubles rubber against John Peers and Luke Saville. Spain finished as the runner-up to Serbia’s champions in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2020.
ATP Cup: Rafael Nadal's woes; Novak Djokovic's domination
Earlier in the day session, the defending champions made a strong start to their title-defence bid against Canada in their Group A tie. World no. 1 Novak Djokovic was instrumental in leading his team to a 2-1 victory.
Canada did score the first point of the day when Milos Raonic defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4. But Djokovic’s straight-sets, 7-5, 7-5 win over Denis Shapovalov brought the Serbians on par with their opponents. In the doubles rubber, Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic proved to be too good for the Raonic-Shapovalov pairing as they went on to claim a 7-5, 7-6(4) win.
Djokovic is undefeated in all the eight rubbers he has played so far in the two editions of the tournament. This win streak also includes his defeat of Rafael Nadal in the ATP Cup final last year.