Tennis’ Davis Cup is the ultimate team tennis event. Run by the ITF, it is the World Cup of Tennis
As of this years’ tournament, the format has changed, so it is now an 18-team event at the end of the season taking place in Madrid over one week. They divide the 18 teams into six groups of three teams with the winners and the two best second-placed teams qualifying for the quarter-finals. Once in the quarter-finals, the series will feature two singles matches and one doubles match. Of the 18 teams in the finals, let’s take a closer look at the favourites, the wildcards and the outsiders.
Spain has won the Davis Cup five times, with the most recent win being back in 2011. Ranked 7th in the ITF rankings they are captained by Sergi Bruguera, one of only two players with a winning record against both Federer and Sampras. They were knocked out in the semi-finals last year by France, but they have a strong team including former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal
France won the Davis Cup as recently as 2017. They are currently captained by Sebastien Rene Grosjean, a former world No. 4 who retired in 2010. They have a talented team including Pierre-Hugues Herbert who alongside Davis Cup teammate Nicolas Mahut, have claimed six Masters 1000 titles and completed the Career Grand Slam. They also have Benoit Paire who was voted Comeback Player of the Years in 2015.
Great Britain has won the World Cup ten times and is the third most successful team in the tournament. They are captained by Leon Smith who has led them to the title in 2015 and the semi-finals in 2016. In Jamie Murray, brother of the former World No. 1 Andy Murray, they have a seven-time Grand Slam doubles winner and Davis Cup champion. They also have Cameron Norrie who last year beat World No. 23 on his debut.
Argentina is currently ranked No. 3 in the ITF rankings. They have reached the final five times, most recently in 2016 when they beat Croatia to win the Davis Cup for the first time. Their highest-ranked player is Diego Sebastian Schwartzman who has won three ATP singles titled and was ranked world No. 11 in June last year. Their other shining light is Guido Pella who won his first ATP tournament in March at the Brazil Open.
Belgium has never won the Davis Cup, despite featuring in the first-ever tournament in 1904. They have reached the final twice in the past five years, losing to Great Britain in 2015 and to France in 2017. David Goffin is their top player who is the highest-ranked Belgium and the first to reach the ATP top 10. He has won four ATP titles. Steve Darcis is the most senior member of the team and has beaten both Rafael Nadal and Tomáš Berdych on grass.
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