Djokovic Returns; Argentina Defends Title In Davis Cup
Djokovic and Kyrgios feature in 2017 Davis Cup World Group first round ties. ATPWorldTour.com previews the eight ties.
The 2017 Davis Cup kicks off this weekend with eight exciting World Group first-round ties being held across the globe. From familiar faces to Davis Cup rookies, the 16 teams in action include an attractive mix of the world’s top players and rising stars of the sport.
ARGENTINA vs. ITALY
Parque Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Clay)
Defending champions Argentina will have the home crowd on its side as they face a tough Italian team in their opening round tie. Argentina leads 2-1 in their Davis Cup head-to-head against Italy.
Juan Martin del Potro remains sidelined due to fitness concerns, but the Argentine team will be led by experienced Davis Cuppers Guido Pella and Carlos Berlocq. Italy will have Paolo Lorenzi and Fabio Fognini flying the flag in singles.
Berlocq is tied 1-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalries with Lorenzi and Fognini. The Argentine ousted Lorenzi at last year’s Roland Garros, but the Italian gained revenge at the US Open. Both matches between Berlocq and Fognini have been held in Argentina, with Fognini prevailing during a 2014 first round Davis Cup tie in Argentina, and Berlocq scoring a win the following year at the Argentina Open.
GERMANY vs. BELGIUM
Fraport Arena, Frankfurt, Germany (Indoor Hard)
Germany has a dominant 8-0 record against Belgium going into this tie, with veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber and #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev leading the way. Belgium is represented in singles by Arthur De Greef and Steve Darcis.
Belgium reached the Davis Cup final in 2015 (l. Great Britain), their first time achieving that feat since 1904. Germany has won three Davis Cup titles (1988, 1989, 1993).
AUSTRALIA vs. CZECH REPUBLIC
Kooyong Stadium, Melbourne, Australia (Hard)
Twenty-eight time champion Australia takes on three-time champion Czech Republic for the ninth time (7-1). Their last meeting came in 2015, which saw the Aussies advance 3-2 in a World Group first-round tie on Czech soil.
Nick Kyrgios, currently No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and Jordan Thompson will play for Australia in singles and take on Jiri Vesely and Jan Satral. Kyrgios is 4-3 in Davis Cup singles action, while Vesely is 3-6.
UNITED STATES vs. SWITZERLAND
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham, Alabama (Indoor Hard)
Team USA will not have a familiar doubles squad in Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, with the brothers retiring from Davis Cup competition after 14 years. They’ll still be represented by a solid team that includes four Top 35 players in Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson. A mix of new and experienced Davis Cup players headline the Swiss team, with veterans Marco Chiudinelli and Henri Laaksonen joining relatively new players in Adrien Bossel and Antoine Bellier.
The United States shut out Switzerland 5-0 in the most recent meeting between these teams, a 2012 World Group first-round tie that included Isner defeating Roger Federer in four sets on Swiss soil.
JAPAN vs. FRANCE
Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan (Indoor Hard)
This tie will be a battle of youth against experience, with #NextGenATP star Yoshihito Nishioka and Taro Daniel taking on Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon in the singles rubbers. Reigning Wimbledon champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut will also suit up for France in doubles against Yuichi Sugita/Yasutaka Uchiyama.
France leads the head-to-head against Japan 3-0, but they haven’t played since 1981. France has won nine Davis Cup titles, most recently in 2001.
CANADA vs. GREAT BRITAIN
TD Place Arena, Ottawa, Canada (Indoor Hard)
An attractive tie in the Canadian capital city will see teenager Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil playing singles for Canada as they take on Kyle Edmund and Daniel Evans. The doubles rubber is guaranteed to be a firecracker, with Jamie Murray/Dominic Inglot facing Daniel Nestor/Pospisil.
Great Britain last won the Davis Cup in 2015, giving the team its first title in 79 years. Canada’s best result is a semi-final showing in 2013, matching the feat they accomplished in 1913.
SERBIA vs. RUSSIA
Cair Sports Center, Nis, Serbia (Indoor Hard)
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic leads the Serbian squad on home soil, and is joined in singles by Viktor Troicki. A pair of #NextGenATP players, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, will battle for Russia in singles action.
Although Serbia is the on-paper favourite, both Medvedev and Khachanov lead Troicki in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalries 1-0. Medvedev scored a win this past October in Moscow, while Khachanov prevailed this past September in Chengdu.
Russia defeated Serbia 3-2 in the only other Davis Cup meeting between these teams, a 2008 World Group first round tie in Moscow.
CROATIA vs. SPAIN
Gradski Vrt Hall, Osijek, Croatia (Indoor Hard)
Spain, back in the World Group for the first time since 2014, are heavy favourites in this tie with a solid team that includes Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut for singles, and Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez for doubles. Franko Skugor and Ante Pavic will look to the home crowd to help lead them to upset victories in singles, while Marin Draganja/Nikola Mektic will do the same in doubles.
Spain has won the Davis Cup five times since 2000, most recently in 2011. Croatia produced an inspired 2016 Davis Cup season to reach the final before narrowly falling to Argentina.