The 3 big stars who won’t be in United Cup teams

Carlos Alcaraz suffered a shock defeat in Paris

The season-opening national team event, the United Cup, moves into its second season in 2024, but some superstars of the game will not turn out for their countries.

It has been confirmed that world No 1s Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic will represent Poland and Serbia, respectively.

Serbia and Poland will be based in Perth but are in different groups. Poland will face Brazil and Spain in their group while Serbia take on China and the Czech Republic.

Some other big names have been confirmed for the event including Taylor Fritz and Jessica Pegula who will aim to lead a successful defence of the title for the United States.

Coco Gauff

The United States are among just three nations, also including Poland and Greece, in which both men’s and women’s No 1 players are ranked in the top 10, but they will be without another top ten star and their most recent Grand Slam winner.

Gauff will instead start her season defending her maiden WTA Tour title in Auckland.

“Auckland was one of the first tournaments that we pencilled in,” Gauff said.

“That is not just because it is important to defend the title that I was honoured to win this year, but it is a great way to start my year as the lead-in to the Australian Open.

“My family all came with me and we love New Zealand and Auckland and everything it has to offer.”

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz has refused to commit to the United Cup and rumours have intimated that he will not play an official ATP Tour event before the Australian Open.

Alcaraz has encamped at the Ferrero Tennis Academy in Alicante in Spain having turned out in an exhibition event in Mexico City at the end of November.

According to a report from MARCA, trainer Alberto Lledo, physiotherapist Juanjo Moreno, and longtime coach Juan Carlos Ferrero have convinced Alcaraz that his best shot at Grand Slam glory is to come into the Melbourne event fresh.

Alcaraz is believed to be set to warm-up for the Australian Open in the invitational exhibition, the Kooyong Classic, held in Melbourne, the week before the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal

While Rafael Nadal delighted fans with his announcement that he would be starting his season in Australia, he won’t be available for Spain’s United Cup team.

Nadal revealed that he would be starting his season at the Brisbane International.

The Brisbane event at the Pat Rafter Arena gets underway at the same time as the United Cup but has still confirmed a suprisingly star-studded field to which Nadal has been added.

“After a year away from competition, it’s time to come back. It will be in Brisbane, the first week of January. I’ll see you there,” Nadal revealed in a social media post in December 2023.

Nadal missed most of the 2023 season with injury and has outlined his intention to retire after the 2024 campaign, which will see the Olympic tennis competition contested at his beloved Roland Garros.

The United Cup gets underway on 29 December 2023 and concludes on 7 January 2024.

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