Having competed in the first two editions of ATP Cup, Team Chile is raring to go in the ATP Tour’s tournament of nations. As well as having the responsibility of playing the event’s opening tie, the South American team’s No. 1 player Cristian Garin is in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings and riding a wave of confidence. “I’m more motivated than before. I hope this will be a different year for me,” Garin tells ATPTour.com.
The 25-year-old certainly has reason to be confident. Apart from currently being ranked at a career-high No. 17, Garin is feeling rejuvenated after a one-month preseason that helped him recover from injuries to his right arm [shoulder and biceps], and to reinvent himself with a new team behind him led by his compatriot and former World No. 167 Jorge Aguilar and the Argentinian Mariano Puerta.
“I finished last year with an injury [Garin has not competed since playing in Antwerp in October], and it was difficult, but luckily I made a good recovery,” Garin said. “We made changes to the staff and I’m very happy with the month we had together. It helped me, above all, to find motivation. And now I feel like I’m playing very well, which is the thing I care most about along with looking after myself physically in order to avoid injuries.”
In his first tournament on the ATP Tour in 2022, the five-time tour-level titlist will be representing his country Chile, who play its opener on 1 January against Team Spain in Sydney.
“Having the opportunity to compete at the top for your country is really amazing,” Garin said. “I really like playing in tournaments like this, with the best in the world and so many innovations. I love being able to compete at such an important event. Tennis needs more tournaments like this.”
The first battle of the tie against Spain will see Alejandro Tabilo take on Pablo Carreno Busta. Then comes Garin’s turn, in the same Ken Rosewall Arena, where he will face Roberto Bautista Agut, against whom he trails 0-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. However, it will be their first clash on hard court.
“Spain is a very tough opponent. But there are no easy opponents at this ATP Cup,” warns Garin, fully aware that Chile also plays Serbia and Norway in Group A. Even so, there is hope in the South American team of reaching the semi-finals.
“Even though it will be difficult, we have a chance of getting through,” Garin added. “We have a great team, and I’ve been training really well for a month. Maybe the first matches will be hard, but I’m feeling good, and it’s a question of adapting on the fly.”
The ATP Cup will be Garin’s first tournament since the middle of October. A reborn Garin feels ready for responsibility on his shoulders, saying: “I really can’t wait to start feeling the atmosphere of a tournament and competition again.”