A new Davis Cup weekend is looming, and will bring us very interesting ties, as starting tomorrow (Belgium vs Israel), 20 countries will be involved in the World Group semifinals and playoffs.
The interesting fact of those ties is that four of the top 5 members will be their countries’ leaders this weekend.
Novak Djokovic, still sitting atop the ATP World Tour rankings, will be Serbia’s number one player in their semifinal against Canada. Having contested the U.S. Open final on Monday, he started practising on clay the day after, in New York, where he stayed an extra day due to a commitment with his foundation last night, and is expected to join his team-mates today. In his case, it is yet unknown whether or not he will play Friday’s singles match or not. We will find out tomorrow, when the draw takes place.
The same situation goes for Rafael Nadal, whose place on the Spanish team for their playoff tie against Ukraine has been questioned by many. Rafa has made himself available to captain Alex Corretja several weeks ago, as he is healthy and going very strong at the moment. Corretja would have to be out of his mind not to have taken that manna, especially considering that Spanish number two player, David Ferrer, has opted out of the Davis Cup this season.
After passing on the zonal tie in April in order to prepare for the clay season, a surface which requires more adaptation for him, Andy Murray is back in Great Britain’s lineup for a return to the World Group, as they will face Croatia in Umag. The way Leon Smith chose his team members, it is to be guessed that Murray will be on triple duty, with him and Dan Evans playing the singles, and the Dunblane native teaming up with fellow Scotsman Colin Fleming in doubles. That is, if Smith doesn’t substitute Murray in Saturday’s rubber.
As for World n°5 Tomaš Berdych, as always when not injured, he will share Davis Cup duties with veteran Radek Stepanek in the semifinal tie that will oppose the Czech Republic to Argentina. Despite the presence of Lukas Rosol and Jiri Vesely on the team, it is to be expected that, as usual, captain Jaroslav Navratil will go with Berdych and Stepanek for every counting rubber.
Other top 30 players in contention this weekend
Other top 30 players will be leading their country this weekend in Davis Cup. Milos Raonic (11), once again, will be the man for Canada against the powerful Serbia on the Belgrade clay.
As most of the time, Stanislas Wawrinka (10) will lead Switzerland, at home, in their playoff tie against Ecuador. Kei Nishikori (12) will do the same for Japan against Colombia, Jerzy Janowicz (13) for Poland against Australia (despite physical issues), and Tommy Robredo (19) will be Spain’s second singles player, just like Janko Tipsarevic (23) will be for Serbia.
Finally, Juan Mónaco (30), Philipp Kohlschreiber (25), and Jürgen Melzer (27) will lead Argentina (in semifinal), Germany, and Austria (in playoffs).
Who said top players had no interest in Davis Cup?