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Rafael Nadal signs on to spend more time down under while headlining new national team competition

Aussie tennis fans rejoice as legend Rafael Nadal signs on to spend more time down under while headlining new national team competition featuring some of the sport’s biggest stars

Tennis great Rafael Nadal will be the star attraction at the United Cup on local shores come December as he launches his Australian Open title defence.

Women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek will also open her 2023 campaign at the inaugural ATP/WTA tournament, alongside fellow top 10 ranked stars Jessica Pegula, Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari.

Other notable entries include Norway’s world No.4 Casper Ruud, Germany’s Alexander Zverev, Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Stan Wawrinka, along with dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

Greece have been confirmed as top seeds, with Sakkari to join heart-throb Stefanos Tsitsipas on court.

Exactly where in Australia Nadal and company will play remains unknown at this stage, with matches to be staged in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth from December 29 through to January 8.

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal will be the star attraction at the United Cup on Australian shores come December

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal will be the star attraction at the United Cup on Australian shores come December

Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas will also feature, with matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth

Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas will also feature, with matches in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth

The draw will be announced online at 2pm on Thursday. 

Spanish legend Nadal claimed his 21st grand slam singles title at Melbourne Park in January before snaring a record 22nd major at the French Open.

The United Cup will feature mixed teams from 18 countries, with each tie comprising two men’s and two women’s singles matches and a mixed doubles contest.

Each team will include up to four men and four women.

Preliminary rounds will be held at Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena, the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney and RAC Arena in Perth from December 29 to January 4, with semis and finals to be held in Sydney.

Australia is guaranteed a spot either through ranking or a wildcard, with Nick Kyrgios expected to feature after voicing support for the event in October.

Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios could team up with old flame Ajla Tomljanovic, with Alex de Minaur, Jason Kubler, Zoe Hives, Maddison Inglis and doubles stars John Peers and Samantha Stosur also reportedly keen to play.

Tournament Director Stephen Farrow is looking forward to showcasing a galaxy of stars in Australia.

‘The players are very excited about the United Cup, and that’s confirmed in the high quality and calibre of those who have committed to the event,’ he said.

‘We are delighted with the depth of the teams, and we can look forward to many exciting match ups and lots of entertaining tennis.

‘The United Cup also marks the return of international tennis to Brisbane and Perth and we know the fans can’t wait to soak up all the action. 

‘All three cities will relish the opportunity to see the world’s best players unite and compete side by side as we launch the tennis season globally.’


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