Reigning champions Serbia, led by world number one Novak Djokovic, will play Germany and Canada in the group stage of the ATP Cup in Melbourne next week after the draw was made on Friday.
The men’s team competition made its debut in cities around Australia last year but will be truncated and played only at Melbourne Park from February 1-5 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will, however, offer the players their first competitive outings after the 14 days of hotel quarantine they had to undergo ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on February 8.
Djokovic led Serbia to the inaugural title with a victory over Rafa Nadal’s Spain in Sydney last year but his path to a return to the final was not helped by a tough draw in Group A.
The Germany team will be spearheaded by Alexander Zverev, while Denis Shapovalov is the standout player in a Canada side also featuring Milos Raonic.
The winning team from each of the four first-round groups will go directly into the semi-finals.
Nadal’s Spain team will play Greece and Australia in Group B, an easier draw given the Greeks have little depth beneath world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas and the hosts will be without Nick Kyrgios.