Nadal Pulls out of ATP Cup Tie vs. Australia at Last Second

Nadal Pulls out of ATP Cup Tie vs. Australia at Last Second

"We have a strong team, all the to @pablocarreno91 @BautistaAgut & @M_Granollers, #vamos", tweeted Nadal.

Alex de Minaur may have lost his ATP Cup singles tie against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, but one point will stay in the mind of tennis fans for a long time.

World number two Rafael Nadal will not compete on Tuesday evening in Team Spain's opening tie against Team Australia at the ATP Cup due to a stiff lower back.

The world number two, 34, was scheduled to face Australia's Alex de Minaur at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

Nadal was replaced by Pablo Carreno Busta for the tie but the latter began in the first singles slot, beating John Millman 6-2, 6-4 to give Spain a winning start.

The win levelled the tie at 1-1 after Canada's Milos Raonic had eased past Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4. "I'm really grateful to see you guys here in the stands".

Djokovic, who will bid for a record-extending ninth Australian Open title, will play in the decisive doubles as he looks to extend his unbeaten record in the ATP Cup to 10 matches.

Thiem's Australian Open preparations got off to a slow start as the US Open champion slumped to a 6-2 6-4 defeat by Italy's Matteo Berrettini in his opening match.

The inaugural ATP Cup was played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney in 2020 when Serbia defeated Spain 2-1 in a thrilling championship clash, which included a tantalising match-up between Djokovic and Nadal.

The tournament is played in Australia over ten days in the lead up to the Australian Open and features teams from 24 countries.

Having pushed Djokovic to five sets in the Australian Open final past year, Thiem is among the top contenders looking to dethrone the Serb at the February 8-21 Grand Slam.