The groups for the 2024 United Cup have been announced, the tournament which marks the starting point of the upcoming tennis season.
24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and his nation Serbia will be taking part in the mixed-gender team event for the first time. Four-time major winner Iga Swiatek will spearhead Poland's bid in the second edition of the tournament, where they will be the top seeds.
The United Cup will kick off on December 29, 2023, and run till January 7, 2024, and will be held in two venues in the Australian cities of Perth and Syndey. A player will be able to win a maximum of 500 ranking points. 16 of the 18 teams have been confirmed and placed in their respective groups of three.
Group A (Poland, Spain, WTA TBC) - PERTH
After a semifinal finish in 2023, Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz will return to the United Cup carrying the weight of a nation once again. This time, rejuvenated and experienced, the Polish duo will be the top seeds at the tournament and possibly the favorites on paper.
Poland will have to contend with a Spanish team replete with the talented Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and the energetic Sara Sorribes Tormo. Even without two of its most prominent names like Rafael Nadal and Paula Badosa, they might spring a surprise, especially in the men's rubbers. A third nation in this group is yet to be determined.
Group B (Greece, Canada, ATP TBC) - Sydney
Second-seeded Greece will count on their effervescent duo of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari who performed admirably at the inaugural tournament. They are pitted in the same group as Canada who will need Felix Auger-Aliassime to fire on all cylinders come January. But the return to form of Leylah Fernandez gives them hope. A third yet-to-confirmed team will complete this group.
Group C (United States, Great Britain, Australia) - Perth
This group takes the cake as the "Group of Death" featuring defending champions USA, against eighth-seeded Great Britain and home nation Australia. Team USA doesn't have strength in depth that is comparable to last year's winning team, but the presence of top-ranked players Jessica Pegula and Taylor Fritz still supersedes what the other two countries in the group will offer.
Group D (France, Italy, Germany) - Sydney
Italy have made a major revamp to their squad. Not a single player from the squad that reached the 2023 final will feature next year. Lorenzo Sonego and top-ranked Italian woman Jasmine Paolini will spearhead their campaign.
But they are in a tough group against Alexander Zverev's German-led team, and a more balanced French team possessing the experience of Adrian Mannarino and Caroline Garcia. The doubles prowess of Edouard Roger-Vasselin could also prove decisive should that be needed.
Group E (Czech Republic, China, Serbia) - Perth
Novak Djokovic shoulders all Serbian hopes and he'll need to win a lot if they are to reach the knock-out phase of the competition. The 24-time Grand Slam champion is the only high-profile name in this Serbian team, with the next best-ranked player in the team Hamad Medjedovic ranked 107.
The Czech Republic thrives in a team environment. Testament to this, they've won double-digit titles at the Billie Jean King Cup. They'll be led by fast-rising ATP star Jiri Lehecka and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova. But do not write off China, who will bring a five-player caravan including its top-ranked players across both tours in Zhizhen Zhang and Qinwen Zheng.
Group F (Croatia, Netherlands, Norway) - Sydney
Worryingly for Croatia, Donna Vekic and Borna Coric could disappoint judging by results in the tail end of the 2023 season. Coric hasn't played since the US Open and Vekic has one eye for the off-season having lost a ton of matches since the start of the US swing. Casper Ruud and Tallon Griekspoor will look to inspire Norway and the Netherlands to an unlikely quarterfinal place.