Group C is an opportunity to make a mark for anyone. Dominic Thiem’s Austria lead the group but you just wouldn’t rule anything out in a group which feels like anyone can beat anyone.
Austria, Italy & France
Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak lead the line for Austria, the good friends will provide a tough test for Italy and France in the group stage. Dominic is now of course a Grand Slam champion, last time he left Melbourne he left as a runner-up for a third time. He has to be taken seriously as a contender in these big moments now, I do still think there is a bit of inconsistency to bridge but he is unpredictable.
This competition is a major opportunity to kick off the season in style but could also go downhill quite quickly. With the greatest of respect I think Matteo will be quite relieved that rankings were frozen, since November 2019 he has played twenty two matches, losing eleven and winning eleven.
I do like Berrettini but I do feel like his game is static, he left London in 2019 with a lot learned and it’s now waiting to see him up his game again, this will be a big season for him. His game does remind me quite a bit of Del Potro and just finding that step in his backhand and clever movement is the next step.
Italy have a lot of talent in their ranks, Fognini is capable of beating anyone on his day and Bollelli brings a lot of experience to the court.
France bring experience. Monfils, Mahut, Roger-Vasselin and Paire bring 141 years between them to Melbourne. Benoit Paire is in fact the youngest in the team at 31 and it feels like we are getting close to now or never.
All these guys have achieved soo much in their careers but it has felt more could be given. They always seem to turn up in these competitions and will be fascinating to watch throughout the ATP Cup. Mahut and Roger-Vasselin bring experience of hundreds of doubles matches and we know Monfils and Paire’s ability in the singles.
It is an open group, anything can happen. I see difficult matches all around Group C and I can’t call who might just pip to the top of this one!