The plan for the streamlined 2021 version of the ATP Cup has become clearer – with the 12 competing countries confirmed on Wednesday.

Journalist Luca Fiorino was one of the many to publish news of the nations that would be taking part in the Melbourne event scheduled for a February 1st start.

There weren’t many surprises – due to the field being selected based on the ranking of the nation’s top player – although Switzerland did miss out due to Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the event.

The groups and official player lists will be confirmed next month – but we can fully expect to see the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem taking part for their countries.

Last year, 24 nations took part in the inaugural ATP Cup, with Serbia seeing off Spain 2-1 in the Sydney final.

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Who has the strongest team on paper?

That Serbian singles duo of Djokovic and Dusan Lajovic will be among the contenders again in February you would think.

Spain are also likely to be strong with Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut their top two players.

But, arguably, the strongest duo is Russia who can boast two players in the world’s top eight: Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

A year ago, Medvedev and Karen Khachanov reached the semis with an 8-1 winning record – before being thumped 3-0 by the eventual winners.

If Russia have the most talented pool of players at present, then Canada aren’t far behind.

The Canadians can afford to leave rising superstar Felix Auger Aliassime out and still lead with Denis Shapovalov and Milos Raonic.

Italy and France are also strong while the return of the ATP Cup should mean that world number 456 Michael Pervolarakis gets his chance to shine for Greece alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In other news, The players you can expect to see at the 2021 ATP Cup