With a history stretching back to 1900, the Davis Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in sport with over 130 nations now participating. The elite tennis nations of the world compete to feature in the 16-team ‘World Group’, with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal among the stars who have led their countries to victory in recent years.
The Davis Cup takes an ambitious new format in 2019, with the world’s top 18 nations competing in a week-long finals event held at a neutral venue. The 2018 Davis Cup semi-finalists – Croatia, France, Spain and USA – have already secured their spot at the Caja Magica in Madrid for the 2019 finals, along with wildcards Argentina and Great Britain. The 12 winning countries from the February 1-2 qualifiers complete the inaugural field, with the 2019 Davis Cup finals taking place from November 18-24.
Under the new format, countries that do not make it into the Davis Cup Finals or the Davis Cup qualifiers will compete under different Zone Groups (I, II, III and IV), with the 12 winners of Zone Group I ties gaining promotion into the following season’s Davis Cup Qualifiers.
There will be 19 Group I and Group II ties across the world from 13-14 September, with world No. 4, Dominic Thiem headlining the latest round of Davis Cup action.
Thiem will spearhead Austria’s bid for a spot in next year’s Qualifiers, as they take on Finland in Espoo. In all, there will be 10 top-100 players in action, including Hungarian, Martin Fucsovics, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, and Portuguese No. 1, Joao Sousa.
There’s a very familiar name further down the Davis Cup ladder, as world No. 8, Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Greece in Athens from 11-14 September as they attempt to secure promotion from World Group III.
Group I Ties, 13-14 September
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Czech Republic
Sweden vs Israel
Finland vs Austria
Hungary vs Ukraine
Slovakia vs Switzerland
Belarus vs Portugal
Lebanon vs Uzbekistan
China vs Korea Republic
Brazil vs Barbados
Venezuela vs Ecuador
Uruguay vs Dominican Republic.
Twelve nations secured their spot in the inaugural Davis Cup Finals to be played in Madrid at the end of November after winning qualifying ties at the beginning of February.
Former Davis Cup champions Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, Russia and Serbia all claimed a ticket to the Caja Magica in Madrid, along with Belgium, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Japan, Kazakhstan and Netherlands.
They join defending champions Croatia, runners-up France, last year’s semi-finalists Spain and the United States and wildcards Great Britain and Argentina in the 18-nation World Cup-style competition, which will be held between 18-24 November in the Spanish capital.
Check out the results from the qualifying ties, played on February 1-2, below:
Belgium def. Brazil 3-1
Australia def. Bosnia & Herzegovina 4-0
Germany def. Hungary 5-0
Kazakhstan def. Portugal 3-1
Columbia def. Sweden 4-0
Canada def. Slovakia 3-2
Serbia def. Uzbekistan 3-2
Italy def. Indian 3-1
Russia def. Switzerland 3-1
Netherlands def. Czech Republic 3-1
Chile def. Austria 3-2
Japan def. China 3-2
Already qualified courtesy of making 2018 Davis Cup semi-finals:
The group stage of the Davis Cup finals will be made up of six pools of three teams, with the draw taking place on Thursday February 14 in Madrid.
With 132 nations entering in 2018, the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. Uniquely structured in terms of tennis competitions, a Davis Cup tie takes place over three days, with two singles rubbers held on the first day (Friday), followed by a doubles rubber on the second day (Saturday) before reverse singles on the third day (Sunday) – all played over the best of five sets. The first nation to score three points wins.
Although Davis Cup ties are played all around the world and involve players from all echelons of the sport (from the top 10 stars all the way down to players who don’t even have a ranking), the cream of the competition is the World Group. The top 16 nations in the world play in a knockout format over four weekends throughout the season, with eight nations progressing to the quarter-finals, four nations to the semi-finals and finally just two nations to the final, which is held during the last week of the long tennis season, bringing the year to a dramatic and fitting climax.
A radical new format has been approved by the ITF for the Davis Cup which will begin in 2019.
The final 18 nations will compete at a week-long, season-ending tournament at a neutral site. The first Davis Cup final will be held from 18-24 November 2019 in Madrid, Spain. The finals will be played in Lille in France in 2020 and Indian Wells, California in 2021.
The world’s top 24 nations will compete in a home-or-away qualifying round in February, with the 12 winning teams advancing to the final tournament. They will be joined by the four semifinalists from the previous year along with two wildcard teams (this means France, Croatia, the USA and Spain are all guaranteed to be involved in the final tournament in 2019).
The 18 teams who qualify for the finals will be placed into six groups of three teams to compete in round-robin play. The six group winners, along with the two teams with the best records through round-robin play, advance to the quarterfinals.
The format of ties has also changed. At the finals, the ties will consist of three rubbers, two singles and a doubles match – all played as best-of-three set matches instead of best-of-five sets.