TENNIS 2015 DAVIS CUP – The Davis Cup World Group starts this weekend with the First Round which features some intriguing matches like Serbia with World Number 1 Novak Djokovic vs Croatia in Kraljevo, Great Britain (led by Andy Murray) vs Usa in Glasgow and Germany vs France. Kazakhstan hosts Italy in Astana. Reigning champions from Switzerland without Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer will risk a first-round defeat against Belgium in Liege. Also interesting are the South-American derby between Argentina vs Brazil in Buenos Aires and Canada vs Japan with their top players Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori and Czech Republic vs Australia (with Aussie rising star Nick Kyrgios). Diego Sampaolo
Novak Djokovic will be in the spotlight when he returns to Davis Cup this weekend for the first round tie against Croatia at the Kraljevo Sports Centre. The World Number 1 will lead the home team which also features Viktor Troicki (winner this year in Sydney), Filip Krajnovic and doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic.
Croatia will sadly miss 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic who has not recovered from injury. The Croatian hopes will be carried by rising star Borna Coric, who grabbed the headlines last week when he beat Andy Murray in the quarter finals in Dubai (his second top 10 win after last year’s victory over Rafa Nadal in Basel) before losing in the semifinal against Federer. Craoatia will be also represented by Marin Draganja and Mate Delic.
Serbia beat Croatia 4-1 in their previous match in 2010 in Split. Then Serbia went on to win the Davis Cup Trophy beating France in the final in Belgrade. This time Serbia will be looking to reach the quarter finals for the fifth time in the last six years.
Djokovic is unbeaten in his last seven appearances in the Davis Cup and suffered his last defeat in this event in 2011 against Juan Martin Del Potro.
Great Britain will host the US team in a re-match of the first round match played last year in San Diego. This year the Davis Cup classic between the two founding nations will be hosted in the Glasgow Emirates Arena on indoor hard-court. Andy Murray led the British team to win last year and will be the headliner at this year’s match in a British team which will be represented by Andy’s brother Jamie Murray, who will play the doubles match with Dominc Inglot against the multi-and second singles player James Ward. Lat year Great Britain returned to the Davis Cup quarter finals for the first time since 1986 thanks to the 3-1 win in San Diego. The US team leads 11-8 in the previous head-to-head matches against Great Britain. The founding nations of the Davis Cup played the first event match of this tournament in 1900 at the Longwood Cricket Ground in Boston. The US team won that match with 3-0. The US team won the 1937 final against Great Britain at Wimbledon. In 1978 the US team featuring John McEnroe (then a 19-year-old rising star) beat Great Britain 4-1.
The US team will be represented by John Isner (who was absent last year), Donald Young (recent finalist in Delray Beach) and the Bryan twin brothers, who won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, 104 doubles wins and the Olympic gold medal. The Bryans could face Andy and Jamie Murray in the doubles match.
Murray will return to the Scottish city for a Davis Cup match for the first time since 2011 when he led Great Britain to a 5-0 win over Hungary in a Euroe/Africa Zone Group match. The Dunblane star is unbeaten in his Davis Cup appearances on the hard-court surface. Great Britain will be looking to win over the US team on home soil for the first time since 1935 when they won 5-0 at Wimbledon
“It should be a great atmosphere. We were told that the tickets were sold out in ten minutes. I imagine the atmosphere will be great”, said Murray.
The Glasgow clash will not be the only re-match of last year’s Davis Cup as Frankfurt will play host to the clash between neighbouring countries Germany and France. Last year France fought back from 0-2 down to beat Germany 3-2. France went on to reach the final where they lost to Switzerland in Lille. France will be represented by a strong team featuring Giles Simon, Gael Monfils and Nicolas Mahut (Australian Open doubles finalist this year) who will make his debut in the Davis Cup and doubles specialist Edouard Roger Vasselin who replaced Richard Gasquet, who has been sidelined by a back injury.
New German captain Michael Kohlmann has nominated Phillip Kohlshreiber, Benjamin Becker, Jan Lennard Struff and Andrè Begemann.
Germany will be looking to break the losing streak of seven consecutive defeats against the French team, who won nine Davis Cup titles. Germany beat France only twice in ten head-to-head matches in 1913 and 1938.
France has lost only once in the first round in the last 13 editions of the Davis Cup.
Italy, who reached the semifinals at last year’s edition of the Davis Cup, will face a tough task on the fast indoor hard court in Astana against Kazakhstan who is represented by former Russian players Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrei Golubev, Aleksander Nedovyesov and Andrei Popko. Kazakhstan narrowly lost 2-3 in the quarter final against eventual Davis Cup champions from Switzerland after taking a 2-1 lead in the doubles match. Kazakhstan has played in the World Group since 2011 and reached the quarter final three times
The Italian team features players who are in good form. Andreas Seppi reached the fourth round at the Australian Open after beating Roger Federer in the third round and reached the final in Zagreb. Simone Bolelli reached the semifinal in Marseille after taking his first top-10 win with his win against Milos Raonic. Fabio Fognini reached the final in Rio de Janiero after beating Rafa Nadal in the semifinal but lost against Carlos Berloq in Buenos Aires. Italian captain Corrazzo Barazzutti has also nominated Paolo Lorenzi. The three best Italian players (Fognini, Seppi and Bolelli) are better ranked than the best Kazakh player Michail Kukushkin (World Number 58) who has a 13-10 win-loss (13-9 in singles and 0-1 in doubles) record in his previous Davis Cup appearances and won the Sydney ATP 250 title beating Viktor Troicki last January. Golubev boasts a solid record in Davis Cup matches of 22 wins and 8 defeats (16-6 in singles and 6-2 in doubles) and won the Hamburg ATP title in 2010.
Italy and Kazakhstan will meet for the first time in the Davis Cup. At individual level Kukushkin leads 2-1 over Fognini and is 1-1 against Seppi but lost his three previous matches against Bolelli.
Another intriguing match will be the South American clash between Aregentina and Brazil in Buenos Aires in a tennis version of the classic football derby between the two powerhouses. The home team will be represented by Leandro Mayer, Federico Delbonis, Diego Schwartzmann and Carlos Berloq (semifinalist last week in the Buenos Aires ATP 250 in Buenos Aires). The Brazilian team will rely on a strong doubles featuring Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares who are favourites in the doubles match. Thomas Bellucci and Joao Sousa are the Brazilian singles players. Argentina leads 5-2 in the previous seven head-to-head matches between 1972 and 1980. The last Brazilian win dates back to 1975 but they have not won in Argentina. Brazil will be looking to qualify for the quarter finals for the first time since 2001. Argentina has qualified for the World Group every year since 2002 but they had to play the Play Off last year after losing against Italy 1-3 in the first round. Argentina lost three Davis Cup finals in 2006, 2008 and 2011.
A Swiss team without last year Davis Cup champions Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will face a very hard task to avoid the Play-off when they play against Belgium in Liege. The home team will rely on World Number 21 David Goffin, Steve Darcis, Ruben Bemelmans and Niels Dessin. Severin Luthi has nominated Yann Marti, Adrien Bosset, Henri Laaskonen and Michael Lammer.
Czech Republic will host Australia in Ostrava in a match between past Davis Cup champions. The home team will be without Davis Cup legends Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek but will field Lukas Rosol, rising star Jiri Vezely, Jan Merti and Adam Pavlasek. Australia will be a mix of experienced players and rising stars with veteran Lleyton Hewitt, Australian Open quarter finalist Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Sam Groth.
Two young top-ten Kei Nishikori (US Open finalist) and Milos Raonic (Wimbledon semifinalist) could square off against in the match between Canada and Japan in Vancouver. Canada, who reached the semifinals two years ago, will also field Vasek Pospisil, Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor (last week’s doubles champion in Dubai). Japan will feature Go Soeda, Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama.
Canada will be looking to avenge last year’s 4-1 defeat against Japan at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. The Asian team leads 6-0 in the previous head-to-head matches.
Spain to face Russia and Ecuador in Davis Cup Finals next November
The draw of the 2020 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid took place at the ITF offices in London on 12th March. The Davis Cup Finals will begin in Madrid on 23rd November 2020.
Defending champions Spain has been drawn in the Group A against Russia and Ecuador. Last year Rafael Nadal guided the Spanish team to the triumph in the final against Canada at the Caja Magica.
This year’s ATP Cup champions Serbia will face Germany and Austria in a Group A, which features three top 10 players Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic beat Thiem in this year’s final of the Australian Open.
In the Group E the USA will take on Italy in a re-match of last year’s late round-robin match. These two teams were drawn against Colombia.Last year’s finalists Canada will meet Sweden and Kazakhstan.
Three former Davis Cup champions France, Great Britain and Czech Republic have been drawn in Group C.
Croatia will clash against Australia and Hungary in Group D.
John Millman Praises ‘Special’ Atmosphere After Australia’s Davis Cup Triumph
John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide after their 3-1 win over Brazil.
John Millman praised the ‘special’ Davis Cup atmosphere in Adelaide this weekend after Australia booked their spot in the Davis Cup Finals.
As Australia headed into the second day with a 2-0 advantage, many people expected a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts but that turned out not to be the case.
Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligini Rodrigues Alves gave Brazil hope after an epic 2 hour and 54 minute win over James Duckworth and John Peers.
A 5-7 7-5 7-6(6) victory for the Brazilians saw the tie taken into a fourth rubber as John Millman knew he had to step up to seal victory for the Aussies.
Another sensational match as Millman battled past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6) 7-6(3) 7-6(3) to secure a thrilling win and Australia’s place in November’s Davis Cup Finals.
After sealing the win, Millman praised the special atmosphere in Adelaide over the two days, “To have an experience like this, that’s better than just about any experience I’ve had,” Millman told Tennis Australia.
“It was something pretty special this weekend. I enjoyed every second of it. It was so much fun. It was an emotional rollercoaster and we’re so happy to get through. To do it with these boys, it’s been a really special week.”
As for captain Lleyton Hewitt, this win typified what he loves about the home and away format that the Davis Cup Qualifiers shows, “There were ebbs and flows in all the matches. It could have gone either way,” Hewitt said.
“That is what Davis Cup is about and that’s why I love the home and away format. To have the atmosphere and the crowd involvement, it was a lot of fun for us to be out there.
“For these guys to play in front of their home fans again, they don’t get to do it throughout the year that often. I’m just thrilled for them that they get to enjoy it and be part of it. It is something really special.”
Next for Hewitt and his Australian team will be the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, where they will join last year’s semi-finalists Spain, Canada, Great Britain and Russia as well as wildcards Serbia and France.
Also qualifying for November’s showpiece were Ecuador and Kazakhstan after their respective wins over Japan and the Netherlands.
Kei Nishikori Out Of Davis Cup In Latest Blow To Japan
More bad news for fans of the injury-stricken player.
Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has hinted that he may not be able to return to the tour until the clay season after withdrawing from his country’s upcoming Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.
Nishikori, who is currently ranked 31st in the world, had been in Miki training ahead of his country’s clash in the team competition. Raising hopes that he will be making a return this weekend. However, he has now confirmed that he is not fully at the level he needs to be to play. The 30-year-old hasn’t played a competitive match since September after undergoing surgery on his right elbow.
“Physically I’m not at my max.” AFP news quoted Nishikori as saying on Thursday.
“I want to return to competition after I improve my strength and become fully confident.
“It might be after Miami or during the clay season,” he added.
Japan will now enter their tie without their two top ranked players on the tour. Another notable absentee is world No.48 Yoshihito Nishioka, who has pulled out of the competition over coronavirus concerns. Yesterday the country recorded it’s 1000th infection of the illness, which is also known as Covid-19. The outbreak has affected many public events in Japan, but officials are confident that this year’s Olympic Games will go ahead as planned.
As a result of the outbreak, the Davis Cup clash will take place behind closed doors. The decision was jointly made between the ITF, Japanese Tennis Association and the country’s government. Baseball matches in the country have also been played without a crowd and the football J-League has been postponed.
“I am grateful just to be held while many sports are being cancelled.” Yasutaka Uchiyama told reporters.
“I want to get results firmly for the fans who support me in front of the TV. ”
Uchiyama and Go Soeda will be the two players who are playing singles in the tie against Ecuador instead of Nishikori and Nishioka.
Another Davis Cup tie affected by the Coronavirus is Italy’s home tie with South Korea. The government announced on Wednesday that all sporting fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3rd. Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 3000 cases.
During a recent interview with Ubitennis, the ITF has said that are monitoring the threat posed by Covid-19 to their tournaments on a ‘case by case’ basis and are liaising with the relevant authorities. The ITF is the body which runs the Davis Cup.
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