The state of play
The 2023 Davis Cup Finals begin on Tuesday, with eight nations bidding to become champions of the world and the likes of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie all in action in Malaga.
Canada are looking to defend the trophy they captured in 2022 with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic spearheading their charge for a second title. Another success in southern Spain would bring up a Canadian double, with the country’s women’s team having lifted the Billie Jean Cup for the first time earlier this month.
Elsewhere, Djokovic is defending a staggering record at the Davis Cup, having won his last 20 singles matches in the competition in a run dating back to 2011. If the 36-year-old can extend that winning streak to 23, it would represent another high point in a year which has seen him win three grand slams, lose a classic Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz and capture a record-breaking seventh ATP Finals title.
4️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ weeks on 🔝
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 20, 2023
Djokovic’s first task will be to lead Serbia past Great Britain in the quarter-finals, with Norrie shouldering his nation’s hopes after Andy Murray – the hero of the team’s 2015 success – was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
Those two teams have landed on the same side of the draw as Italy, with world number four Sinner potentially having the chance to avenge Sunday’s showpiece loss to Djokovic at the ATP Finals, if he can first help his team past the Netherlands.
Canada kick things off against surprise package Finland on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to face either the Czech Republic or Australia in the final four.
From there, all roads lead to Sunday’s final, where the winners of the 111th edition of the historic tournament will become known.
Canadian tennis is on top of the 🌍
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) November 12, 2023
How does it work?
The eight teams in action this week all qualified by advancing through their four-team groups in September, with Canada and Italy progressing from Group A, Great Britain and Australia finishing as the top two in Group B, the Czech Republic and Serbia doing likewise in Group C, and the Netherlands and Finland edging out heavyweights the United States in Group D.
Each tie at the Finals will consist of two singles matches and one doubles match, with all contests being best-of-three tiebreak sets. That format means any team with an exceptionally strong number one (we’re looking at you, Serbia) could be in a good position.
Who’s in action?
Djokovic is the main attraction for those flocking to Malaga for the event, with the 24-time grand slam champion in exceptional form after Sunday’s ATP Finals triumph – which took him past Roger Federer outright for the most titles at that tournament.
The Serbian, who will finish a calendar year at the top of the ATP world rankings for a record-extending eighth time, will be supported by the likes of Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic.
Their last-eight opponents Great Britain will be represented by Norrie, Liam Broady, Joe Salisbury, Jack Draper and Neal Skupski. Prior to Murray’s withdrawal on Saturday, captain Leon Smith had already lost Dan Evans to a calf injury.
— LTA (@the_LTA) November 20, 2023
Sinner will team up with the likes of Lorenzo Musetti, Lorenzo Sonego and Matteo Arnaldi, who impressed on his Davis Cup debut on home soil in September, posting a great group-stage win over Sweden’s Leo Borg in Bologna. Italy are viewed by many as possessing perhaps the deepest talent pool, though they will face a tough route through the tournament if they are to triumph.
Reigning champions Canada will call upon Auger-Aliassime and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Raonic when they face outsiders Finland, who are featuring in the last eight for the first time in 78 years of playing in the competition.
Alex de Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis – close friend and regular doubles partner of Nick Kyrgios – will represent 2022 runners-up Australia, while 2023 Australian Open quarter-finalist Jiri Lehecka headlines the Czech Republic’s team.
Canada won last year’s competition and edged out Italy in the group stage to top their pool with eight victories across their total of nine matches, and a relatively kind Finals draw should put them there or thereabouts. However, the absence of the injured Denis Shapovalov is a big blow.
It could all come down to a potential semi-final tussle between Italy and Serbia, where Sinner may get a chance to exact revenge on Djokovic. Great Britain can’t be ruled out if they do manage to shock Serbia in the last eight, but the most likely result seems to be a victory for one of those two teams.
Who wants to see this rematch in the #DavisCup Final 8?
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 20, 2023
How to watch
The entire tournament will be available to watch live for those who subscribe to the Tennis Channel International.
In the United Kingdom, all of Great Britain’s ties – including Thursday’s tussle with Djokovic and company – will be shown live across BBC platforms.