Rafael Nadal will venture onto a tennis court in Perth for the first time in his career after Spain were drawn on Monday to play in the West Australian capital.

Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut will head the Iberian line-up in Group B along with Japan (Kei Nishikori) and Georgia.

Perth Arena will host Rafa Nadal and his Spanish team in January.

Also playing preliminary stages form January 3 in Perth will be Group D, comprising Russia, Italy and the US.

Already, 19 nations have qualified for the new event which will stage preliminary rounds in Perth and Brisbane, with the knockout stages set for Sydney ending on January 12, a week before the start of the Australian Open.

Five additional qualifiying spots remain open, with host Australia given a free entry.


Novak Djokovic will head for Brisbane while  Stan Wawrinka will play in Sydney. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

In the draw made on Monday at the Sydney Opera House attended by former Aussie greats Patrick Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, top-seeded Serbia, headed by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will play in Brisbane along with France and South Africa.

The Swiss with Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, will be based in Sydney in a group which also includes Belgium and Britain with Andy Murray.

The new competition, designed to counter-balance the revised Davis Cup which will be played all in one go in November, will feature the entire ATP Top 10 and 27 of the Top 30 in the rankings.

The last five countries will qualify on November 13 based on playoff results. Nations are entered based upon the ranking of their top player.

Roger Federer will be based in the harbour city of Sydney.  Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

Winners of the eight groups will go through to Sydney for a four-day shootout; Cup ties comprise best-of-three-set singles (two) and a doubles rubber.

“In all of the conversations we’ve had with the players, right from the beginning, they have said this is their event. They want to play it. They want to make it work,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

“There’s a lot at stake. There is more than $US15 million in prize money and 750 ranking points – that’s up there amongst the highest of all of the events in tennis.
“But also it’s the launch of the season and they want to test out where they’re at. They’re playing for their country and with their mates. That’s what’s going to be such a special experience for the players and the fans.

Kei Nishikori will lead Japan’s challenge in Perth. Photo: Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

“You can’t really go wrong with the players who have signed up, 10 of the top 10, 27 of the top 30, pretty much all of the top 100 players.

“I’m pretty sure the match-ups are going to be good.”