With their great men's tennis star, Kei Nishikori, and the inspirational successes of Naomi Osaka, champion of the US Open 2018 and the Australian Open 2019, Japan now dream of becoming Davis Cup champions for the first time. Following in Nishikori's footsteps are Taro Daniel, 26, and Yoshihito Nishioka, 23, the men who lead for the Japanese team when their senior player can't compete.
Japan overcame a 2-1 deficit against China in Guangzhou in February's qualification to secure a place in the Davis Cup Madrid Finals. Daniel led the visitors’ comeback, winning his two individual duels, including the fifth and decisive point that sealed an exciting victory (2-3).
The Japanese were Davis Cup finalists on their debut in the competition in 1921. They were founding members of the World Group in 1981 and returned to the top level of the tournament in 2011, after 26 years in Group I Asia/Oceania.
Takao Suzuki holds plenty of Japan's recordsin the Davis Cup: total wins (41), singles wins (27, a record he shares with Tsuyoshi Fukui), contested playoffs (31), years of competition (15)... and, along with the man who will lead the team in Madrid, Satoshi Iwabuchi, who assumed the captaincy to lead the World Group promotion playoff against Brazil in September 2017, also has the best record in doubles (9-5).
Japan won't have it easy in Madrid as they have been drawn in Group A of the competition and will have to face France, runners-up in 2018, and Serbia, champions in 2010. To progress, the team hopes to count on the support of Japan's fervent fans, who tirelessly wave the Rising Sun flag and are always present wherever they play.
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