By Ros Satar
- New format week-long competition comes into play as the self-styled ‘World cup of Tennis
- Great Britain seeded No. 5 in the new format
MADRID, SPAIN – As the season draws to a close, there is one last tournament on the block as the new look Davis Cup ends the year.
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What is the new Davis Cup format?
We’re glad you asked! Our friends at the LTA put together this handy video for you to peruse before we dig into it all. (H/T: LTA)
Sounds good, right?
Well… that depends on your point of view. Here at the Nitto ATP Finals, defending champion and semi-finalist Alexander Zverev made his thoughts pretty clear on the subject.
“I said it a lot of times. I don’t think the format is Davis Cup anymore. I think Davis Cup is the most historic event that we have in tennis, which is over 100 years old, and Davis Cup is the home-and-away ties.
“Davis Cup is the whole atmosphere, the play over three days to play five sets and play those tough matches. That’s Davis Cup for me, and not playing it at one venue for one week and deciding it all. That’s not Davis Cup.
“Davis Cup is going to South America, Davis Cup is going to Australia, like I did when it was the proper Davis Cup. Yeah, I hope people realise that Davis Cup is more than just money and all that like they are offering us now. It’s history, and it’s tennis history. Yeah, it’s more than just what’s on the table for the players now.”
However, it is what it is, and in a few days the new look format will pit 18 countries together with a group stage (sounds familiar?) and quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final on Sunday to crown the new World Champions.
There are two singles matches and one doubles match, best of three sets with the winners of each group and the two best placed runners up proceeding to the knock out stages, from quarter-final to final.
Wait… what about Home and Away ties?
In March next year 26 teams will play for 14 spots in the 2020 Finals, two of which will receive wildcards and qualify directly and… those ties will be the traditional Home and Away ties.
The 25 teams will be 14 teams ranked fifth to 18th in the Finals
12 winning teams from their Group 1 zone.
Clear? Ok then.
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What about this year though?
Well quite. There are enough big names still on the slate for the new style Finals. Despite an elbow niggle, Novak Djokovic is still planning to represent Serbia. Rafael Nadal will have to postpone fishing on his boat as he will be flying the flag for Spain on home soil. Andy Murray will be a huge part of the GB team.
Weren’t you just talking about ATP Cup?
We sure were… and that will start at the beginning of the new season – about six weeks after the Davis Cup. Yeah, we don’t get it either and we suspect that after two major country-based team competitions within six weeks of each other goes through one cycle, the prospect of the Davis Cup being increased to a two-week competition in an already extremely congested tennis calendar seems folly, at best.
What are Britain’s chances?
The Great Britain Team is:
- Captain: Leon Smith
- Dan Evans
- Andy Murray
- Jamie Murray
- Neal Skupski
- Kyle Edmund
Actually… not bad. Great Britain play the Netherlands (3-0) on Wednesday and Kazakhstan (first meeting) in Thursday for a place in Friday’s quarter-finals and hopefully beyond.The team spent time with kids promoting tennis before they headed off to Madrid to prepare (H/T: LTA)
For more insight do check out @the_LTA on twitter for daily Davis Cup diaries and more, and follow us on social media as we cover the Davis Cup Finals from Madrid.
The Davis Cup Finals take place between 18-24 November.
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