Djokovic & Swiatek Spearhead Second Edition Of United Cup

Djokovic & Swiatek Spearhead Second Edition Of United Cup

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek will form part of the star-studded United Cup, which will herald the start of the 2024 tennis season in Australia.

24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will make his debut in the new-look United Cup, which will kick off on December 29, 2023, and run till January 7, 2024. Djokovic will lead Serbia's bid for a first title in the mixed-gender tennis tournament.

He will be joined by rising star Hamad Medjedovic and doubles specialist Nikola Cacic as part of the squad. Serbia's three WTA players in the field are all ranked outside the Top 100, and they are Olga Danilovic, Natalija Stevanovic, and Dejana Radanovic.

Iga Swiatek and Poland will hope to go all the way next year after a humiliating semifinal exit at the hands of the USA in the inaugural team competition. Swiatek left the court in tears after accounting a singles loss to Jessica Pegula. Poland would lose the tie 5-0.

The four-time Grand Slam champion will join forces with ATP Top 20 player Hubert Hurkacz. Poland will be the top seed at the event. So far, 16 of the 18 countries have been confirmed, including the defending champions USA who will not bring the whole caravan that won the first United Cup.

Jessica Pegula, Taylor Fritz, Alycia Parks, and Desirae Krawczyk will return to the team in addition to Denis Kudla and Rajeev Ram. Last year's runner-up Italy will ring the changes, bringing Lorenzo Sonego and Jasmine Paolini to the fold. Most of their players who took part in 2023 will not be coming back.

Greece will count on the popularity and expertise of its highest-ranked players. These will be Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari, who performed admirably to qualify from their group in the first taste of the tournament.

A vibrant Czech team will be led by Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova and ATP young gun Jiri Lehecka while France will bank on the experience of Adrian Mannarino and Caroline Garcia. The doubles prowess of Edouard Roger-Vasselin could also prove valuable.

Host country Australia will be represented by Alex de Minaur, the highest-ranked Australian man since 2006. The injury-prone but powerful hitting Ajla Tomljanovic will assist him in carrying the weight of a nation, along with the tireless John Millman.

The Brits have also named a very strong lineup, featuring Cameron Norrie, Daniel Evans, and 27-year-old Katie Boulter who bagged her first WTA title in 2023. The last two nations will be announced on November 20, based on the rankings which will be published on that date.


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