World No.1 Rafael Nadal will be aiming to get his Australian summer off to a hot start when Spain’s ATP Cup campaign begins on Saturday night.
Spain enter the inaugural 24-nation tournament as clear favourites given they will boast Nadal and world No.9 Roberto Bautista Agut in their team.
The defending Davis Cup champions are expected to romp to victory against minnows Georgia in Perth on Saturday night.
Although world No.26 Nikoloz Basilashvili is capable of causing upsets, Georgia’s next highest-ranked player is world No. 679 Aleksandre Metreveli. Bautista Agut will face off against Metreveli, while Nadal is set to take on Basilashvili.
Basilashvili has lost all three of his previous encounters against Nadal, the most recent a 6-1 6-0 drubbing at the 2019 ATP Masters in Rome. Nadal has the chance to equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 grand slam singles titles at the Australian Open later this month. But the 33-year-old insists the ATP Cup is his priority for now, saying the $22 million event isn’t merely a warm-up for the first major of the year.