AAP Tennis

Dimitrov, Murray to meet in Sydney ATP Cup

By AAP Newswire

A date with Andy Murray to kickstart Australia's summer of tennis is the reward for Grigor Dimitrov, whose late-year rankings surge has earned Bulgaria a berth in the maiden ATP Cup.

Bulgaria, Chile, Poland, Uruguay, Norway and Moldova were the final six countries added to the draw on Thursday, with 24 nations in total split into six groups playing across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth from January 3-12.

Former world No.3 and Australian Open semi-finalist Dimitrov moved from a seven-year low of 78 in August to No.20.

Switzerland's Roger Federer withdrew for personal reasons last month but thanks to Dimitrov's rise the man dubbed Baby Fed - thanks to their similar style of play - will ironically replace him in Sydney.

He will lead Bulgaria against Moldova, Belgium and Great Britain, who will roll out Andy Murray as he continues his remarkable comeback from major hip surgery.

"I was excited we got drawn to play there and have a couple of tough matches," Murray, who has never played in Sydney, said.

"But that's what you want when you've got the Aussie Open a couple of weeks away."

Current top two Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will lead Spain and Serbia in Perth and Brisbane respectively, while Australia will be powered by Alex De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios in Brisbane.

Australia are in a pool stacked with some of the world's best young players, with Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, Canadian pair Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime and German Alexander Zverev all featuring.

"We have such a good team chemistry, we have a very ... strong team and I know everyone is going to leave their heart out on the court," current world No.18 De Minaur said.

Spain's world No.1 Nadal will play for the first time in Perth against Group B rivals Japan, Georgia and Uruguay.

Serbia, led by Djokovic, play Chile, France and South Africa in Group A in Brisbane.

Cristian Garin (Chile), Hubert Hurkacz (Poland), Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay), Radu Albot (Moldova) and Casper Ruud (Norway) were the other five players to earn their countries a spot in the tournament's debut.

The six group winners and the two best second-placed finishers across the groups reach the finals in Sydney.

Each tie will comprise two singles and one doubles match, with countries able to select from three players.