DAVIS CUP: U.S. TO FACE
ITALY, CANADA IN NEW-LOOK FINALS
Ashley Marshall | February 15, 2019
Team USA’s road to a record-extending 33rd Davis Cup title will be far from easy.
The U.S. will play Italy and Canada in the round-robin stage of the 2019 Davis Cup finals in November, it was unveiled at this week's draw ceremony at Real Casa de Correos in Madrid.
U.S. captain Mardy Fish’s team may also need to defeat top seed France in the semifinals and No. 2 seed Croatia in the championship match of the final, to be played Nov. 18-24.
The U.S. automatically qualified for the new-look, year-end competition by virtue of reaching the 2018 semifinals.
The finals will feature 18 teams competing over one week at Madrid’s La Caja Magica, home of the annual Madrid Open. The competition begins with a six-group, round-robin stage, with the winner of each group and the two top-finishing second-place teams (with best percentage of games, sets and points won) advancing to the knockout quarterfinal stage.ADVERTISEMENT
Each tie will consist of two singles and one doubles match, all best-of-three tiebreak sets.
The U.S., as the No. 6-seeded nation, was placed into Group F, to which Italy and Canada were then drawn. The winner of Group F will play the winner of Group D in the quarterfinals, a group featuring Belgium, Colombia and Australia.
The U.S. is 7-3 all time vs. Italy in Davis Cup and last played the Italians in the 1998 semifinals, won by Italy. Italy advanced to the 2019 finals by defeating India, 3-1, in the qualifying round earlier this month, led by Andreas Seppi and Matteo Berrettini.
The U.S. is 15-0 all time vs. Canada in Davis Cup, but the neighbors haven't met in Davis Cup play since 1965. Canada advanced to the 2019 finals by beating Slovakia, 3-2, in the qualifying round on the backs of young stars Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“I think all of us are excited," top-ranked American man John Isner said at the New York Open earlier this week. "For me, being around a long time, it’ll be my third captain. I’ve enjoyed playing for all of them. I think we’ve been very fortunate to have some great captains, and personally, to play for captain Patrick McEnroe, I enjoyed that, and to play for Jim Courier, of course, I enjoyed that, as well.
"Now Mardy is going to be different because I’ve played against Mardy a bunch. He’s beaten me a bunch of times, I’ve beaten him a few times. But with all that said, he’s a good friend and a very good tennis mind, as well. And I think the most important thing is he’s very fired up and enthusiastic about this job, and he really wanted it and he has it, and I think he’s bringing a lot of good energy back to Davis Cup.”
New U.S. captain Fish also announced that David Nainkin will serve as his coach, a position held by Jay Berger and Robby Ginepri under former captain Courier. Nainkin, a lead national coach for USTA Player Development based out of the Training Center – West in Carson, Calif., has coached rising American Taylor Fritz for the last several years and was Fish’s coach when he rose to No. 7 in the world in 2011. A former top singles player at UCLA, Nainkin has also coached a number of American pros and juniors since first joining the USTA in 2004, including Sam Querrey and Sloane Stephens.