The inaugural ATP Cup starts on Friday in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, with 12 countries in action on an opening day. Russia will face Italy in Perth, trying to make the best possible start and prove the status of one of the favorites for the title in Sydney on January 12.
Former world no. 1 and multiple Major champion Marat Safin is back in ten more than ten years after he retired, serving as the Russian team captain and trying to lead this promising squad as far as possible at the first edition of the newly-formed team event.
Spending a fun day with Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov at the Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Marat said he is confident about their chances in the ten-day event, with both players ranked in the top-20 and in great shape ahead of the first encounters against the Italians.
Karen Khachanov managed to finish the year in the top-20 for the second year despite failing to reach at least one ATP final, seeking stronger results in 2020 with the new coaching staff. On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev is at the top of the world at the end of 2019 despite a slower end of the season and four straight losses, finishing in the top-5 and with four ATP titles on his tally, two at the Masters 1000 level.
Marat and Daniil are among the youngster who will try to take down Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in 2020, although they are all aware of how difficult that task is. Marat Safin is on the same side of that page, praising Roger, Rafa and Novak as the trio that created something that will never be repeated again.
Still, the Russian hopes the youngster can send them into retirement earlier and take the throne from them after more than 15 years. "Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have forged a unique group that was never seen before," Safin said.
"They are incredible, especially Roger. I wish them to play a little bit longer, but I also want the young guns to send them into retirement earlier. Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov are in great shape, I think we have a chance to win the ATP Cup."