WITH many of the world’s top tennis stars getting ready to switch their focus from individual success to the honor of representing their country, Sportstimesdaily takes a look at some of the favorites to win this year’s Davis Cup.
The competition has undergone a major facelift recently, the tournament now taking place over 11 days from November 25 and featuring 18 nations. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, adding greater significance to this year’s competition, with the preliminary rounds taking place at three venues in Austria, Italy and Spain, before the semi-finals and finals are played in the Spanish capital, Madrid, informs Offers.Bet.
Installed as favorites for the title, and not just because they have US Open champion Daniil Medvedev leading their challenge. In 2019 they were without the man who stopped Novak Djokovic claiming an unprecedented grand slam this year, but they still reached the semi-finals with Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov guiding the team to the last four. Rublev is ranked six and the world and Khachanov’s Olympic silver medal this year shows he has the ability to take on the very best in the world, if required to step up.
Defending champions and with home advantage, they have the small matter of being paired with Russia in the group stages, but they do have one of the rising stars of the sport in their ranks in the shape of 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. He reached the last eight in the US Open, including a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, and is seen as the heir to Rafa Nadal. With Nadal out, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreño are expected to play important roles.
With Djokovic playing, Serbia must be considered amongst the favorites, with representing his country always a privilege for the 34-year-old. With three slams this year, there are few who can live with Djokovic on top form, and with two top 40 players in Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic backing him up, they are worthy of being considered as potential winners. The doubles, however, could prove to be their Achilles heel.
Canadian tennis is in a very good place at present with some of the biggest names in the sport hailing from the country in both the women’s and men’s game. With Felix Auger-Aliassime enjoying a standout year and joining Denis Shapovalov as a potential major winner, they have both youth and ability on their side. They could well feed off each other in the tournament and could go one better than 2019 when they were beaten finalists.
Gone are the days when the likes of a John McEnroe or Pete Sampras would be as good as a set up in a match by their mere presence on court, with the US now seen as an outsider for a trophy they have won a record 32 times. The men’s game here is still in a state of flux, and hopes this year lie with John Isner, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka in the singles. The idea they can upset the odds to claim a first Davis Cup title win since 2007 appears a little far-fetched, but with doubles’ experts Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram able to beat any pairing on their day, they could surprise a few opponents. They are up against Italy and Colombia in Turin, Italy, so will need to hit the ground running to even get out of Group E.