By Ros Satar
- Great Britain and Argentina have been awarded wild-cards to advance straight to the 2019 Davis Cup finals
- No need to play qualifying in February
LONDON, UK – The ITF have announced that former Davis Cup champion nations Great Britain and Argentina will be awarded wildcards straight into next year’s new format finals.
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The ITF and Kosmos Tennis announced that the Davis Cup Steering Committee has selected Great Britain and Argentina to be awarded the wildcards for the 2019 Davis Cup finals. Great Britain (who won the Davis Cup in 2015) and Argentina (champions a year later in 2016) were seeded nations for the new 2019 Qualifier Draw scheduled to take place in February.
The favourites for the wildcards prior to the announcement had been Serbia and Switzerland, now seeded 2 and 6 respectively.
Australia and Switzerland will now replace Great Britain and Argentina in the draw as the highest-ranked unseeded nations that lost in the World Group play-offs held earlier this month.
Australia and Switzerland are replaced as unseeded nations in the draw by the highest-ranked nation from their respective region in order to maintain the allocation of unseeded nations (six from Europe/Africa, three from Asia/Oceania, three from Americas). China, P.R. replaces Australia, while Bosnia/Herzegovina will also contest February’s Qualifiers having guaranteed a place in the top six Europe/Africa nations and completed its 2018 Davis Cup season.
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What this means for Team Great Britain, and fans
Many fan groups were disappointed that the decision was made to move towards a neutral-site final and while Glasgow in September gave the old format a great send-off as Team GB beat Uzbekistan 3-1 to secure their seeding for February’s qualifying draw, the expectation was that if it was a home tie it would be in a different location, or the team and fans would be looking to travel straight after the Australian Open.
What this now means, for both nations, is that they will advance straight to the 18-team final format, at a neutral venue.
It also reduces the need for Britain’s top players to make themselves available straight after the Australian Open for the qualifying rounds. However, with the finals taking place after the ATP World Tour Finals (assuming the top British players had performed highly enough to make the cut for the finals), it would leave them with potentially a similar issue to many other years in terms of extending the season, although the decision to remain on hard courts for the first couple of years of the new format might make that slightly easier.
Team GB Captain Leon Smith spoke after the Play-off tie about the importance of seeding but also Britain’s strong case to be awarded a wildcard.
The two remaining nations from Europe/Africa will be confirmed after the 2018 Europe/Africa Zone Group I relegation play-offs in October and based on the Davis Cup Nations Ranking of Monday 29 October. These nations will be drawn into the Qualifier Draw following the completion of the 2018 competition.
The 12 seeded nations for the 2019 Qualifiers are:
- Czech Republic
The 12 unseeded nations for the 2019 Qualifiers are:
Europe/Africa (6 nations)
- Europe/Africa nation TBC
- Europe/Africa nation TBC
Asia/Oceania (3 nations)
- China, P.R.
Americas (3 nations)
The 12 winning nations in the Qualifiers will compete in the 2019 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas finals, while the 12 losing nations will compete in their respective 2019 Zone Group competitions.
The 2019 Qualifier Draw takes place on Wednesday at 3pm BST at the ITF offices in London, and will be streamed live on the Davis Cup website and Davis Cup Facebook
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