2022 United Cup preview: Group D

GROUP D continues our 2022 United Cup preview series leading up the brand new event taking place across three Australian cities. Group A and Group F are in Perth, with Group B and Group E in Brisbane, and Group C and Group D are in Sydney. There are 18 teams battling it out for ultimate glory in the first ever extended five-match men’s and women’s combined team event.


The first 12 nations were picked based on their highest ranked player, both from an ATP and WTA standpoint. That means the nations of six highest ATP ranked players who nominated, and the six highest WTA ranked players who nominated earned spots in the event. From there, the remaining six nations were based off a combined ATP and WTA ranking to complete the field of 18.


The event features five matches per ‘tie’ with four singles and a doubles, the same format as a Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. The number one male singles players face off, as do the number one female singles players. Then it’s the number two male singles players, and then number two female singles players. Finally, the fifth match is a mixed doubles match between two chosen players from each nation, likely the top ranked talents.



One of the most exciting teams, Spain leads Group D in what could be the most competitive group of the entire United Cup. Highlighted by world number two and 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, he and 13th ranked top women’s singles player Paula Badosa could make quite the splash. While 72nd ranked Nuria Parrizas Diaz might be the weaker point in the side, the men’s team also has its regular Davis Cup representatives in Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. It is incredible to think Spain could add two top 20 players in world number one Carlos Alcaraz, and Roberto Bautista Agut if it went in full strength.


Given Spain’s strength, not many teams would worry the European country, but home nation Australia has some quality players across the board. The best possible men’s duo of Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur is box office, while Ajla Tomljanovic leads the women. If Ash Barty was still playing, the Aussies would be favourites for the event, but instead the other singles spot goes to 142nd ranked Zoe Hives. Australia’s doubles pairing of John Peers and Samantha Stosur is just about a guarantee if the Aussies can win two of the four singles matches.


Great Britain has plenty of potential, but is missing a number of players that could really make the team a threat at the United Cup. The men’s singles pairing of Cameron Norrie and Daniel Evans remains intact, but minus Emma Raducanu and Heather Watson on the women’s side, it is Harriet Dart and Katie Swan representing the nation. Junior athlete Ella McDonald gets her chance on the big occasion, ranked 22nd in the world in juniors.


Spain sits as marginal favourites ahead of Australia, with the Aussies needing to cause an upset in either the men’s second singles or women’s number one singles. If they can do that, then the home nation should take out the doubles, but otherwise Spain would be expected to progress. Great Britain does not have the depth on the women’s side to knock off Spain.

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