• Nadal decides not to play his first ATP Cup game due to back discomfort

The unexpected loss of

Rafael Nadal

did not prevent Spain from making a successful debut in the second edition of the ATP Cup. Finalist last year, the team this time led by

Pepe Vendrell,

Roberto Bautista's


, beat Australia in the first match of the Group B. Nadal, affected by back problems, decided not to play his match against

Alex de Miñaur

, local number 1.

It was Bautista who completed the work started by

Pablo Carreño

, conclusive against

John Millman

: 6-2 and 6-4.

The Castellón beat De Miñaur 4-6, 6-4 and 6-4, in two hours and 19 minutes.

The absence of Nadal, however, raises the logical concern for the remainder of this tournament and the start of the Australian Open next week, where he could surpass

Roger Federer's

20 Grand Slam titles


The Spaniard added in his statement through Twitter that he hopes to be in good condition for this Thursday, against Greece.

With expectations of

Nick Kyrgios

faded, De Miñaur embodies the future of Australian tennis.

Recent champion in Antalya, the 23rd player from Sydney has entered the ATP Cup with a record of five victories, against an opponent who had not competed since October.

At 21, De Miñaur has a promising repertoire.

He is fast, determined and a good puncher from both fronts.

Lleyton Hewitt

, captain of the


and one of his mentors, along with his coach, the Spanish

Adolfo Gutiérrez

, has found in him a modernized replica of himself.

Bautista was thus in the first set before an irrepressible gale.

He was only able to carry out his service on one occasion.

De Miñaur, spurred on by an audience that returns tennis in Melbourne to a certain normality, proposed more and better.

Longer shoot

Winner in his only crosses with Bautista, the Australian, who has made the preseason at the

Juan Carlos Ferrero


, in Villena, played with the self-confidence that distinguishes the new generations.

It has grown in relation to the preceding courses;

he is a more armed tennis player, also physically.

He clearly dominated the first set and despite Bautista's reaction he made it his own for the rest.

Nadal was only partially absent.

As is customary in team competitions, the world number two was the leader from the bench, involved in technical management and emotional drive, along with Vendrell and

Samuel López

, Carreño's coach.

Bautista, 13th, was not weighed down by his poor success in converting breaking balls, two out of six, and started an unthinkable reaction in light of the vulnerabilities shown.

He took a step forward, improved with the serve and saw his rival slacken, inconsistent, with palpable signs of confusion made explicit in the dialogues with his team at breaks.

As the game regained predictability, without the succession of


that marked its beginning, Bautista's command grew, setting the pendulum in motion.

After taking the second set, there were few traces of the Australian's strength, who ended up fading after losing service in the third game of the third quarter.

The Spaniard reversed a difficult start to the game and showed once again that in certain situations he can act as number 1. "It took me a while to pick up the pace of the game and the speed of the court, after being 5-1 down in the first set. It's never easy to start a season, "he commented after the victory.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • tennis

  • Rafael Nadal

  • Pablo Carreño

  • sports

ATP CupNadal praises Australia's health management: "In Spain or France all this is unthinkable"

Tennis Ignacio Tejeda, one of the promises of Chilean tennis, dies at 17

TennisNadal's message to Djokovic: "Some need to make public what they do to help"

See links of interest

  • Messi contract

  • 2021 business calendar

  • Leganés - Lugo

  • Real Betis - Osasuna

  • Sabadell - UD Logroñés

  • Live, ATP Cup: Roberto Bautista - Jon Millman

  • ATP Cup, live: Rafael Nadal - Álex de Miñaur