United Cup draw: Spain, Australia, Great Britain in same group as Rafael Nadal against Nick Kyrgios looms
The inaugural mixed gender United Cup is shaping up to be an exciting event as the likes of Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Jessica Pegula and Maria Sakkari have all signed up.
The A$23 million (£13m) competition will kick off the 2023 tennis season in Australia and will feature 18 mixed teams with Brisbane, Perth and Sydney hosting matches.
Teams are divided into six groups of three and each tie features two men’s singles matches, two women’s singles rubbers and one mixed doubles encounter.
It will be the first mixed gender event to offer ranking points to players on both the ATP and WTA. A player will be able to earn up to 500 points.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said: “The United Cup is an important and strategic collaboration between the WTA, the ATP and Tennis Australia that reflects a continued commitment in elevating our sport.
“This exciting singles and mixed doubles team event will bring together emerging stars and established athletes from both Tours to compete on the same stage, giving players and fans a unique experience in which the final outcome may be determined with women and men competing together.”
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United States have received direct entries into the event with the two remaining countries to qualify on November 21.
|GROUP A||GROUP B||GROUP C||GROUP D||GROUP E||GROUP F|
|TBD||TBD||Czech Republic||Great Britain||Norway||Argentina|
Top seeds Greece will be spearheaded by Tsitsipas and Sakkari while world No 1 and three-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek will headline Poland along with Hubert Hurkacz. Poland will face a strong Switzerland team that can call on Belinda Bencic and Stan Wawrinka.
The United States have world No 3 Pegula, Madison Keys, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe in their squad, but there is no Coco Gauff. They will face a Germany team who will welcome Alexander Zverev into the fold following his long injury layoff.
Spain, meanwhile, will have 22-time Grand Slam winner Nadal and former world No 2 Paula Badosa in their squad and we could get a Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios encounter as the latter is part of Australia’s squad along with Ajla Tomljanovic and Alex de Minaur.
Great Britain are the other team in Group D and they will have Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan in the squad with former US Open champion Emma Raducanu not taking part.
“The United Cup presents a unique opportunity to unite both the men’s and women’s tour in a brand new way that has never been seen before,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.
“We have the opportunity here in Australia to leverage tennis’ unique position to allow the world’s top men and women to compete side by side and represent their country at the highest level. We couldn’t be more delighted to see how this event unfolds in January across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.”
The United Cup will start on December 29 with the final taking place at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney on January 8.
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