We take a look at all 12 ties of the opening round of the Davis Cup by Rakuten 2023.
Best friends come face-to-face
World No.3 Casper Ruud is looking to lead Norway to a first Finals appearance as his team take on Serbia, who will be without Novak Djokovic and will largely be relying on the same players who competed in the Group Stage in Valencia last year. There, Serbia was handed a tough draw alongside hosts Spain, Canada and Korea, Republic, and finished a tight third in the group losing only to Spain.
The teams' No.1s, Ruud and Miomir Kecmanovic are best friends on the ATP Tour and could face each other in Oslo. How will they deal with that?
Croatia: a fearsome opponent
Austria welcome back Dominic Thiem for the first time since 2019 and the former world No.3 will have to be at his best if he is to help his team take down a strong Croatian side.
Croatia have confirmed they will be at full strength – with Marin Cilic, Borna Coric, Borna Gojo, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic – for the Austrians' visit and look to be one of the most fearsome teams in this year's Qualifiers. But there might be a small question mark behind Cilic's availability: the 34-year-old recently suffered a knee injury during training at the ATP 250 tournament in Pune.
Austria competed in the 2021 Finals as the host nation, finishing bottom of Group F behind Germany and Serbia. Croatia, by contrast, were finalists in 2021 and semi-finalists in 2022.
Finnish home advantage
Argentina will be without two of their top singles players and will be looking to Francisco Cerundolo and Pedro Cachin to deliver in Espoo. Andres Molteni and Maximo Gonzalez complete the quartet who will be hoping to score an away win on Finnish soil to book their country's place in the Davis Cup Finals later this year.
Emil Ruusuvuori will lead the Finnish team. Since his debut in 2017, the 23-year-old has been a regular on the national team. The Finns are looking to reach the Finals for the first time, something they came close to achieving in 2022 against Belgium. They want to "take advantage of playing at home," says Ruusuvuori.
French team spirit against Hungarian ambition
France have named a four-man team of Arthur Rinderknech, Adrian Mannarino, Benjamin Bonzi and Nicolas Mahut for their trip to Hungary on 3-4 February. Sebastien Grosjean will name a fifth player to strengthen the team, as the rules allow, following the Australian Open and the captain is delighted to be able to rely on a united group: "There is a good spirit between them, they get along very well and know each other well. Cohesion is obviously very important in Davis Cup,” says Grosjean. France have won the title 10 times, most recently in 2017.
Marton Fucsovics leads the Hungarian side, which also includes Zsombor Piros, Fabian Marozsan, Mate Valkusz and Peter Fajta. Fucsovics has been a stalwart of his team since his debut in 2010, as is shown by his record in the competition: of his 50 matches he has 32 wins and 18 defeats (22-11 playing at home).
Colombia: eager to play... and to beat Great Britain
Colombia have named the same team that beat Turkey 4-0 in World Group I last year. Daniel Galan, Nicolas Mejia, Nicolas Barrientos, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will be hoping home advantage pays dividends in their Qualifier against a visiting British team.
Great Britain make one change to the side that couldn't quite get over the line in the Group Stage of the 2022 Finals in Glasgow: Jack Draper replaces Andy Murray in a side that has a good balance of singles and doubles with Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury also named.
Colombia have reached the Finals on two occasions but have never made it past the Group Stage while Great Britain have been present in all three editions played under the new format, reaching the 2019 semi-finals against Spain.
Chile at full strength to host Kazakhstan
Chile will welcome Kazakhstan on 4-5 February with Cristian Garin, Alejandro Tabilo, Nicolas Jarry, Tomas Barrios and Gonzalo Lama. Chilean captain Nicolas Massu will be hoping both the conditions and the home crowd will be enough to help carry his team to a first Finals since the inaugural edition in 2019.
Alexander Bublik will spearhead a strong and experienced Kazakh team for their tie on South American soil. They will have their work cut out if they are to book a place in the Finals for a fourth successive year as they will be competing on clay, their least favourite surface.
Belgium looking to reach consecutive Davis Cup Finals for the first time
Belgium travel to Korea, Republic, and will be led by David Goffin and Zizou Bergs in the singles. The latter clinched a decisive fifth singles match at the same stage of the competition against Finland last year. Goffin and Bergs will be joined by Kimmer Coppejans, Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen as Johan van Herck's team look to reach consecutive Davis Cup Finals events for the first time.
Korea, Republic name an unchanged side from the one that turned heads by making it through to the Davis Cup Finals in 2022. Kwon Soonwoo, who stunned Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Group Stage in Valencia last September, will be joined by Hong Seongchan, Nam Jisung and Song Minkyu.
Netherlands want to get back to Glasgow level
Netherlands will head into their showdown with Slovakia with the same team that featured throughout the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals – in the Group Stage, where they showed their full strength, and in the Final 8. Botic Van de Zandschulp and Tallon Griekspoor are once again expected to lead out their nation in the singles, and will be joined in Groningen by Tim Van Rijthoven, world joint No.1 doubles player Wesley Koolhof, and partner Mate Middelkoop. Their goal: to be in their third Finals.
Slovakia's best known players are Alex Molcan and Norbert Gombos. The left-handed Molcan is the current world No.54, but earlier this year was ranked as high as No.38. Gombos is currently ranked just outside the top 100, but has a best ranking of No.80. Slovakia won the only previous meeting between the two nations – in 2005.
Ymer brothers vs an experienced Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sweden's side is largely the same as that which made it through to the Group Stage last year, with Mikael and Elias Ymer expected to feature in singles for the Scandinavians. They will be joined by Andre Goransson as well as two newcomers – Karl Friberg and Leo Borg.
Sweden's opponents, Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be looking to Damir Dzumhur to lead them to victory. Dzumhur is joined in an experienced side by Nerman Fatic, Mirza Basic and Tomislav Brkic.
Portugal looking to break new ground
Portugal are hoping to reach a first Davis Cup Finals and have named a tried and tested line-up that features Joao Sousa, Nuno Borges, Frederico Silva, Gastao Elias and Francisco Cabral.
Their opponents, Czech Republic, will be sending Jiri Lehecka, Tomas Machac, Vit Kopriva, Jakub Mensik and Adam Pavlasek. In their only previous experience of reaching the Finals, in 2021, they failed to make it through the Group Stage.
New faces in the USA Team
USA will also be handing three players their first taste of the Davis Cup, with Jenson Brooksby, Mackenzie McDonald and Austin Krajicek all called up to represent their team alongside Tommy Paul and Rajeev Ram for the tie against Uzbekistan.
Playing captain Dennis Istomin leads an Uzbekistan side that also includes Sergey Fomin, Khumoyun Sulatanov and Sanjar Fayziev.
Uzbekistan has reached the World Group play-offs on ten occasions and now faces the most successful nation in Davis Cup history, with USA crowned champion on 32 occasions, most recently in 2007.
Alexander Zverev set to make comeback
Alexander Zverev is set to compete in the Davis Cup for the first time in a year after being named in the Germany side that will take on Switzerland. The German had been hoping to come back from injury in his country's colours at the 2022 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage last September, but was forced to miss more time and has yet to return in a Tour-level match. Despite Zverev's absence, the Germans made it through to the Final 8, falling 2-1 to eventual champions Canada in the quarter-finals in Malaga last November.
Switzerland have named an unchanged team to take on Germany with captain Severin Luthi calling on the same five players that defeated Ecuador in September : Marc-Andrea Huesler, Dominic Stricker, Leandro Riedi, Alexander Ritschard and Henri Laaksonen.