Taking place between March and November each year is the men’s equivalent of the Fed Cup, the Davis Cup. Named in the honour of the tournament’s creator and former American player, Dwight Davis, the event is the largest international team tennis competition for men. The event was founded in 1899 by four members of the Harvard University tennis team, who wanted to challenge British players. The Davis Cup is contested by the top 16 internationally ranked teams, with round fixtures taking place in different parts of the world.
The structure of the tournament is unlike any other major tennis tournament. Regular tennis tournaments are played in a standard knockout format over a two week period, while the Davis Cup has its own unique structure. The 16 participating teams, consisting of their best two men’s singles players, are seeded and play off over four weekends throughout the season. Each elimination round between competing nations is held in one of the countries and is played as the best of five matches (4 singles, 1 doubles). The winner of each tie (the name for the contest of four singles and a doubles rubber) progresses, while the loser is knocked out. Fixtures continue until two teams reach the final. The winner of that is crowned Davis Cup champion.
Overall, the USA remains the most successful country in Davis Cup history, winning 32 out of the 103 editions of the event. Australian teams are ranked second in overall standings with 28 titles. However, they haven’t been successful since 2003. Like recent Grand Slams, European countries have dominated this event over the past decade or so. Only once in the past 10 years has a non-European country won, and that was when an American dream team of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers obliterated the competition in 2007.
France are the defending champions and are the favourites to be the first country to win back-to-back titles since Radek Stepanek and Thomas Berdych won the enormous trophy in 2012 and 2013. Australia looks to have formed a strong team as they vie to become champions again after spending years in the abyss; the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, John Millma, John Peers and Matty Ebden have formed a close bond thanks to the tutelage of former great Lleyton Hewitt as Davis Cup captain.
Friday February 2, 12:00pm (AEDT) @ Pat Rafter Arena
With Australia’s best ranked tennis player, Nick Kyrgios in career best form Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has his best chance of securing a semi-final berth. Without a title since 2003 when Hewitt was in the prime of his career, Australia is once again leaning on another bad boy to bring success its way in the form of Kyrgios.
Hewitt has publicly stated that Tomic needs to dig himself out of the hole he is in at the moment and all but shut the door on the 25-year-old returning to the Davis Cup team ever again. The Aussies have a lot to be confident about heading into this tie with Alex de Minaur impressing by making the Sydney International final and Kyrgios’s heroics to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open where he was beaten by world number three Grigor Dimitrov.
|YEAR||WINNERS||RUNNERS UP||WINNING PLAYERS|
|2016||ARGENTINA||CROATIA||DEL POTRO, MAYER|
|2015||GREAT BRITAIN||BELGIUM||MURRAY, EDMUND|
|2013||CZECH REPUBLIC||SERBIA||STEPANEK, BERDYCH|
|2012||CZECH REPUBLIC||SPAIN||STEPANEK, BERDYCH|
|2009||SPAIN||CZECH REPUBLIC||NADAL, FERRER|