Novak Djokovic to begin 2024 season with United Cup; Rafael Nadal not in Spain team

World number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic is set to begin his 2024 season with the United Cup. The tournament is a mixed team event in Perth and Sydney that will take place from December 29-January 7 where Djokovic will lead the Serbian team. However, Spain tennis star Rafael Nadal will miss the tournament and hasn’t been named in his side’s squad. The tournament offers a total prize of USD 9.4 million, which will serve as a head up for Djokovic before his 25th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. 

The United Cup is a 16-nation tournament with Poland taking the top-seed spot. Nadal was a part of the 2023 squad before suffering a hip century at the opening Grand Slam of the year. He has been out of action since and underwent surgery in June 2023. Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said earlier this month that Nadal had planned his return to the Grand Slam at the Australian Open 2024, which follows the United Cup. 

However, Nadal didn’t give any confirmation and said in one of his interviews to Tennis World USA, “I’m going day by day. I do not have a date because I do not know how my body will be in a few months. I’m training more than before, and I’m making progress on a mental level. I will not give up on a return to competition.”

Before the first Grand Slam of 2024, the Spaniard could also appear in a few ATP events in Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland in early January. The participating countries will be drawn into six groups of three and will compete in a round-robin format. Each tie will feature one men’s and women’s match as well as a mixed doubles clash.

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