Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the United Cup due to injury. file. | Photo Credit: AP
The new joint venture of the ATP and WTA tours kicks off Thursday in three Australian cities with plenty of prize money and ranking points at stake.
And the mixed team United Cup could also help shake off some of the holiday season rust ahead of the Australian Open starting January 16 in Melbourne.
The inaugural United Cup has teams from 18 countries competing in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney until January 4. The three city champions and the next best performing nation from the group stage will then meet at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney from January 6 to 8 to determine the overall winner.
The tournament offers $15 million in prize money and up to 500 ATP and 500 WTA rankings points.
Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the United Cup due to injury
Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Australian team with an apparent ankle injury sustained in an exhibition tournament last week in Dubai. The Wimbledon finalist was expected to lead the Australian team, facing Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Sydney on Thursday night, but withdrew ahead of a scheduled media conference on Wednesday.
Kyrgios is also set to play Rafael Nadal in the most anticipated match of the event when Australia meet Spain next week.
“Team Australia update: Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the United Cup due to injury,” United Cup organizers tweeted.
Kyrgios’ Australian teammates only learned 10 minutes before the media conference that he would not be joining them.
Team captain Samantha Stosur said she had not spoken to Kyrgios about his decision and would not comment on whether he would be fit for the Australian Open.
“I’m not going to speak for Nick’s summer, we’ll have to leave that for him,” Stosur said.
When Kyrgios is gone, the world No. 24 Alex de Minaur will move to No. 1 men’s position for Australia and will play against Norrie and Nadal, along with the No. 107 Jason Kubler — the fifth-ranked Aussie male — promoted to the No.2 spot .
Top-seeded Greece is led by world No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 6-ranked woman Maria Sakkari. Led by World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz second-seeded Poland, with the third-seeded United States featuring world No. 3 Jessica Pegula, ninth-ranked Taylor Fritz, world No. 11 Madison Keys and No. 19 Frances Tiafoe.
Nadal will join world No. 13 Paula Badosa for Spain, while Italy will have world No.16 Matteo Berrettini and Martina Trevisan.
Each host city will feature two groups of three countries, competing in a round-robin format. Each draw will have two men’s and two women’s singles matches and one mixed doubles match to be played over two days.
Among other opening day matches on Thursday, the United States will play the Czech Republic in a Group C one-day clash, also in Sydney. In Brisbane, it’s Italy vs. Brazil in a one-day match in Group E and Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan tonight in Group B.
In Perth, Greece take on Bulgaria in Group A and France take on Argentina later in a Group F match in the evening.