With multiple members of the Top 10, led by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, playing in Australia right now, it’s safe to say the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup isn’t lacking for star power.
However, it could be some of the far-less-heralded players that could make the difference in some of the potential outcomes, because while some of the teams might be loaded at the singles positions, several of the squads have a No. 2 whose ranking falls deep down in the triple digits.
Here’s a look at some of the non-household names who’ll be out to punch above their current weight class. (All photos Getty Images)
Viktor Durasovic, Norway
Current Ranking: No. 332
A former top-35-ranked junior and US Open boys’ doubles semifinalist, Durasovic has been making some moves up the pro standings, cracking the top 300 briefly at the end of last year. Though he lost his singles match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. in the opening tie at the ATP Cup, the 22-year-old teamed up with Casper Ruud to knock off Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram in doubles to clinch a 2-1 victory for Norway.
Alexander Cozbinov, Moldova
Current Ranking: No. 818
It was just last year that the Eastern European nation of Moldova produced its first title winner in Radu Albot. While Albot was grinding his way up the rankings, Cozbinov honed his game in the U.S., competing in college tennis at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. In 2019, the 24-year-old won his first Futures title in Pittsburgh.
Martin Cuevas, Uruguay
Current Ranking: No. 523
Uruguay only has one player ranked in the top 500 of the world, and that would be Martin’s older brother, Pablo, who’s won 15 ATP titles between singles and doubles over the course of his career. Martin, 27, hasn’t made much of an impact on the senior tour, but has posted comparable numbers on the Futures and Challenger circuits, and so far, has peaked at No. 271 in the singles standings. He lost his ATP Cup opener to Japan's Go Soeda.
Dimitar Kuzmanov, Bulgaria
Current Ranking: No. 423
Former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov has a busy schedule ahead of him at the ATP Cup, serving as a player captain for Bulgaria. The 26-year-old Kuzmanov will be one of the players giving him support on the singles side at the tournament. Facing Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the opener, Kuzmanov pushed the world No. 53 to three sets before losing. Despite that, Bulgaria still managed to pull off the upset with a doubles win.
Michail Pervolarakis, Greece
Current Ranking: No. 487
Another player that went the U.S. college route, Pervolarakis competed at the University of Portland, where he earned multiple all-conference selections. In his senior year in 2018, he qualified for the individual NCAA Championships, then turned pro shortly thereafter. Last year, Pervolarakis won two Futures titles and as he looks to gain more experience against top-level competition, the ATP Cup appears to be the place that will happen now: In his first match, the 23-year-old fell in straight sets to last year’s breakout star, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada.
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