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Novak Djokovic to start 2024 season at United Cup, Rafael Nadal not in Spain team

Novak Djokovic

MELBOURNE, October 20: World number one Novak Djokovic is set to kick off his 2024 season at the United Cup, a mixed teams event in Australia, as he leads Team Serbia. This competition offers a total prize money of A$15 million (approximately $9.47 million) and will take place from December 29 to January 7. It will serve as a lead-up for Djokovic before he aims for his 25th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
The United Cup is a 16-nation tournament, with Team Poland taking the top seed position. It will feature talents like four-time major champion Iga Swiatek and world No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz. The United States emerged victorious in the first edition of this competition in January.
Interestingly, Djokovic’s long-time rival, Rafael Nadal, who played for Spain in the previous edition, will not be part of the Spain team for the upcoming event. Nadal expressed support for the event but criticized the format that led to teams playing matches that did not significantly impact the outcome.
Rafael Nadal has not been in action since a hip injury forced him out of his Australian Open title defense in early 2023. While tournament director Craig Tiley recently announced that Nadal would return for the Australian Open in January, the Spaniard’s representative mentioned that no specific comeback date has been set.
If he is fit to compete, Nadal will have the option to participate in various Australian Open warm-up events, including a pair of ATP tournaments in Adelaide starting from January 1.
(ToI With Reuters inputs)

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