Bautista Agut, Fognini Lead No. 2 Singles Players At ATP Cup
The inaugural ATP Cup is set to begin on 3 January in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, with 24 teams across six groups competing for eight spots in the Final Eight, to be held in Sydney.
All countries were qualified based on the ATP Ranking of their No. 1 singles players. But there are plenty of countries with highly-ranked No. 2 players, too.
Leading the way is World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The Spaniard had the best season of his career in 2019, defeating then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to capturing the Doha title at the start of the season. He never looked back from there, cracking the Top 10 for the first time on 19 August. Spain is the only country with two Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings, as Bautista Agut is part of a team that includes World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.
“I’m excited because it’s going to be the first time [having this event] in Australia and Rafa and I are going to play there,” Bautista Agut said. “I hope we have a good team and can play a good week for Spain.”
Not far behind in the ATP Rankings is Fabio Fognini, the World No. 12 who reached a career-high No. 9 this year. He was the third Italian to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, with Matteo Berrettini, the country’s current No. 1 player and Nitto ATP Finals qualifier, becoming the fourth less than five months later.
The third No. 2 player for a country who was inside the Top 10 at one point in 2019 is Russian Karen Khachanov, the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion who reached a career-high No. 8 this July. The World No. 17 has won four ATP Tour titles in his career. He's behind World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, who captured two ATP Masters 1000 trophies this season.
Top 5 No. 2 Singles Players At ATP Cup By ATP Ranking
|Roberto Bautista Agut||Spain||No. 9|
|Fabio Fognini||Italy||No. 12|
|Karen Khachanov||Russia||No. 17|
|Felix Auger-Aliassime||Canada||No. 21|
|Lucas Pouille||France||No. 22|
Felix Auger-Aliassime is the highest-ranked #NextGenATP No. 2 player, heading into the ATP Cup at World No. 21. The Canadian, just six spots behind good friend and countryman Denis Shapovalov, is the second-youngest player in the Top 100 behind only Jannik Sinner, the Next Gen ATP Finals champion.
Other standout No. 2 players are 2014 US Open champion and former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, 2018 Australian Open semi-finalist and former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille of France, World No. 25 Guido Pella of Argentina, and World No. 30 Nick Kyrgios of Australia. There are 12 No. 2 players inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.
“It's going to be an awesome event. I know everyone on the Tour wants to be with their teammates,” Kyrgios said. “There's nothing better than playing for your country against the other best players in the world."
One group to keep an eye on in terms of matches between No. 2 players is Group D, with three of the four No. 2 players inside the Top 35 of the ATP Rankings. The four players are No. 12 Fognini, No. 17 Khachanov, No. 32 Taylor Fritz and Norway’s Viktor Durasovic.