Draw for 2019 Davis Cup Finals released: Groups are set for November in Madrid but will top players show up?

Hannah Wilks in Davis Cup 14 Feb 2019
  • The draw for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals has been released
  • 16 nations will compete at Madrid's Caja Magica in revamped competition format, 18-24 November 2019
  • Top nations clustered together in draw but will the biggest players show up?
ITF president David Haggerty and Gerard Pique at the draw ceremony for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

The draw for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals has been released.

Groups and knock-out stage draws have been announced for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, to be played 18-24 November at Madrid's Caja Magica, also home of the Madrid Open.

The radically - and controversially - revamped international competition is now based around an 18-nation week-long event played at a neutral venue, replacing the system of home-and-away ties that dominated the previous years of the Davis Cup. The four semifinals from the 2018 Davis Cup - France, Spain, Croatia and the USA - have been joined by 12 nations who won qualifying ties played at the beginning of February in home-and-away format and two wildcards, Argentina and Great Britain.

The 18 finalists have been drawn into six groups of three, with the top nation in each group advancing to the quarterfinals to be joined by the two second-best nations.

Here is the complete draw for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals.

Davis Cup Finals 2019 - group stages

NationSeedEntryTop-ranked singles playerSecond-highest ranked singles playerNo. of players in top 100
France12018 semifinalistLucas Pouille (22)Richard Gasquet (30)9
Serbia8Qualified (beat Uzbekistan)Novak Djokovic (1)Dusan Lajovic (4)4
Japan14Qualified (beat China)Kei Nishikori (7)Yoshihito Nishioka (71)3
Croatia22018 semifinalistMarin Cilic (10)Borna Coric (13)3
Spain72018 semifinalistRafael Nadal (2)Roberto Bautista Agut (13)8
Russia17Qualified (beat Switzerland)Karen Khachanov (11)Daniil Medvedev (16)4
Argentina3WildcardJuan Martin del Potro (4)Diego Schwartzman (19)7
Germany11Qualified (beat Hungary)Alexander Zverev (3) (will not play)Philipp Kohlschreiber (32)6
Chile18Qualified (beat Austria)Nicolas Jarry (47)Christian Garin (93)2
Belgium4Qualified (beat Brazil)David Goffin (21)Ruben Bemelmans (134)1
Australia9Qualified (beat Bosnia-Herzegovina)Alex de Minaur (27)John Millman (37)6
Colombia15Qualified (beat Sweden)Daniel Elahi Galan (233)Santiago Giraldo (252)0
Great Britain5WildcardKyle Edmund (28)Cameron Norrie (65)2
Kazakhstan12Qualified (beat Portugal)Mikhail Kukushkin (53)Alexander Bublik (144)1
Netherlands16Qualified (beat Czech Republic)Robin Haase (55)Tallon Griekspoor (211)1
USA62018 semifinalistJohn Isner (9)Frances Tiafoe (29)11
Italy10Qualified (beat India)Fabio Fognini (15)Marco Cecchinato (18)5
Canada13Qualified (beat Slovakia)Milos Raonic (14)Denis Shapovalov (25)2

The immediate takeaway from the draw is that two groups in particular stand out as very strong: Group A, which includes the very deep bench of France, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic's Serbia, and world no. 7 Kei Nishikori's Japan; and Group B, which includes a Spanish side surely assured of home support and presumably led by Rafael Nadal; 2018 champions Croatia, with two top-15 players in Marin Cilic and Borna Coric; and Russia, whose Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev could be a formidable pairing.

That's assuming that all the top players show up, however, which is far from a given. Germany already know they will be without their star player Alexander Zverev: The world no. 3 helped his nation qualify for the Finals, but insisted that he would be watching the tournament from the Maldives, sticking to his guns in suggesting that the season is already too long. World no. 1 Djokovic has expressed doubts about participating in the Finals, having been heavily involved in promoting the ATP Tour's new team competition, the ATP Cup, which will be played within two months of the Davis Cup Finals. 

And given how late the tournament will be played, at a stage of the year when usually everybody except the players of the two teams in the Davis Cup final is on holiday, there's every possibility that players who have seemed enthusiastic and supportive of the new-look Finals - like Nadal - could find themselves injured and unable to play.

Andy Murray, who had hip resurfacing surgery recently, looks like an unlikely participant, but Great Britain have nevertheless been very lucky with the draw, which has placed them with two nations - Kazakhstan and the Netherlands - who only boast one top-100 player each.

The draw has also been released for the knockout stages:

If Great Britain finished top of Group E, they would therefore face one of Argentina, Germany or Chile in the quarterfinals.

The new Davis Cup Finals format means that ties will consist of three rubbers, not five (two singles and one doubles) and matches will be played as the best of three sets, not five.

It has been branded the 'Pique Cup' in some quarters, with the footballer leading the investment group Kosmos who are bankrolling the revamp.

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Draw for 2019 Davis Cup Finals released: Groups are set for November in Madrid but will top players show up?

Great Britain are lucky to land in Group E with Netherlands and Kazakhstan while Spain, Croatia and Russia in Group B and France, Serbia and Japan in Group A are set for blockbuster clashes - get the fll draw for the 2019 Davis Cup Finals here

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