2018 DAVIS CUP, FED CUP
Ashley Marshall | September 20, 2017
Team USA’s men and women will face top European competition early next year when the 2018 Fed Cup and Davis Cup campaigns get underway.
The American Davis Cup team will travel to face Serbia, Feb. 2-4, while the U.S. Fed Cup team will face the Netherlands the following weekend, Feb. 10-11.
As a finalist in the 2017 Fed Cup competition, Team USA – which plays Belarus in the championship match in November – has the choice of whether to host the Dutch or travel to the Netherlands for the tie. A decision will be made by the end of September.
Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties traditionally alternate between host nations.
The U.S. Davis Cup team last played Serbia in 2013, losing 3-1 in the quarterfinals, held on an indoor hard court at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. As a result, Serbia automatically hosts the upcoming tie and will decide both the venue and playing surface.
The Serbs are 2-0 against the Americans in Davis Cup play, making Serbia one of just three nations (out of 40 the U.S. has played in Davis Cup) that boasts a winning record against Team USA. The others are Croatia, which leads the head to head with the U.S., 4-0, and Spain, which leads, 6-5.
The U.S. also lost to Serbia in Belgrade in 2010 in what was John Isner’s Davis Cup debut.
When America last played Serbia four years ago, Novak Djokovic guided the Serbs into the Davis Cup semifinals. The 12-time Grand Slam champion won his opening singles matches against Isner on Day 1 and then sealed the tie with a four-set victory over Sam Querrey on Day 3, after Ilja Bozoljac and Nenad Zimonjic upset the Bryan brothers in a five-set thriller on the middle day of play.
Assuming former world No. 1 Djokovic is fully healthy after a right elbow injury forced him to miss the 2017 US Open, he will likely headline a squad featuring a number of Top 100 players.
World No. 47 Viktor Troicki and No. 68 Janko Tipsarevic are both Davis cup veterans, having played a combined 97 matches at the international level. Dusan Lajovic, ranked No. 80, and Laslo Djere, No. 97, are also options for singles play, while 41-year-old doubles specialist Zimonjic, Serbia’s top-ranked doubles player, could be called into the squad.
For Team USA’s men, a quartet of Top 50 players are the most likely starting point for captain Jim Courier’s team, although there are a number of possibilities.
At No. 16 in the world, top-ranked American Querrey seems a likely choice considering his proficiency in both singles and doubles, as does world No. 21 Jack Sock. Big-serving Isner, ranked 17th, is more suited to singles action but has played doubles in Davis Cup play before, and Steve Johnson, No. 44 in the world, also has both singles and doubles titles on his resume.
The U.S., which has won 32 Davis Cup titles, more than any other nation, also has seven other men ranked inside the Top 100, including Frances Tiafoe, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young.
In Fed Cup action, the World Group first-round tie against the Netherlands will be the U.S.’s first match after the 2017 final, which will be contested later this year in Minsk.
U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi has 13 American women in the Top 100 to choose from, including world No. 5 Venus Williams, 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys, world No. 16 and 2017 Fed Cup standout Coco Vandeweghe, and reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
CiCi Bellis (No. 41), Lauren Davis (No. 45) and Alison Riske (No. 49) are also Top 50 players, while Shelby Rogers, Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale have all played multiple Fed Cup matches over the past four years.
By contrast, world No. 29 Kiki Bertens is the Netherlands’ lone Top 100 player. Richel Hogenkamp (119), Arantxa Rus (143), Lesley Kerkhove (154) and Quirine Lemoine (157) are its other players ranked inside the top 200.
The Dutch could also call on No. 44 doubles player Demi Schuurs or Michaella Krajicek, ranked No. 92.
The U.S. team has only lost in the World Group first round five times, but that includes a 1997 defeat to the Netherlands in Haarlem.
The nations last met in the first round of the 1998 competition, with the U.S. avenging the previous year’s defeat with a 5-0 victory on a clay court at the East Beach Tennis Club in South Carolina, the only Fed Cup tie to ever be played in the state.
In that tie, Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles each won two singles matches and Mary Joe Fernandez and Lisa Raymond completed the sweep with a doubles win.
America holds a 6-2 all-time record against the Netherlands in Fed Cup play.