Melbourne, Jan 2 (IANS) World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has said that Team Spain did not consider the ATP Cup, a team competition whose inaugural edition kicks off in Australia this week, a tune-up for the Australian Open.
“The preparations for the Australian Open will come a week before that Grand Slam, when we play the tournament in Adelaide. We’re motivated to play this team competition,” Efe news quoted 33-year-old Nadal as saying after the team arrived for a visit to Rottnest Island, a nature preserve located off Perth.
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the 2020 tennis season, starts on January 20 in Melbourne.
Team Spain was welcomed to Rottnest Island by Western Australia Tourism Minister Paul Papalia.
“It’s really exciting to have the ATP Cup in Perth and Western Australia. We have the best players in the world here, so people can get up close to watch them in the next few days. Importantly, we’re pleased to have Team Spain here promoting Western Australia, and one of the key visits is to come to Rottnest and get selfies with Quokkas,” Papalia said.
Nadal had a phenomenal 2019, winning his 12th French Open title and fourth US Open crown, as well as being victorious at the Masters 1000 events in Rome and Montreal.
The teams in Group B — Spain, Japan, Georgia and Uruguay — and Group D — Russia, Italy, Norway and the United States — will be in action at the RAC Arena in Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
Team Spain will begin its pursuit of the ATP Cup on January 4 against Georgia, led by Nikoloz Bashilashvili, the world No. 26, and will later take on Uruguay, which features world No. 45 Pablo Cuevas, and Japan, which will be without world No. 13 Kei Nishikori.
A total of 24 countries are competing in the ATP Cup, which will be played January 3 to January 12.