The job might not yet be done, but the captains of both teams who will face each other in Sunday’s Davis Cup by Rakuten final used the exact same word to express their emotion after close-fought semi-finals in Malaga… pride.

For Australia, who are looking to add a 29th Davis Cup title overall and a first since 2003, captain Lleyton Hewitt was full of admiration for a team that have arguably punched above their weight at this year’s competition.

“I just couldn't be prouder of these guys and the heart and the passion and the pride that they are playing with out there,” Hewitt said after Australia clinched a close doubles match to defeat Croatia 2-1 in Friday’s first semi-final.

“Just proud. The whole team, the support staff, the hitting partners, Kubes [Jason Kubler], who is the sixth guy on the team, these guys make a lot of sacrifices to come here, and they have done it all year for me, for me and the coaching staff, and they do absolutely everything that we ask of them and they deserve to get results like that.

“It's just nice when it all comes off and all the hard work pays off. They deserve to play in a big match on Sunday.”

I just couldn't be prouder of these guys and the heart and the passion and the pride that they are playing with out there (Lleyton Hewitt)

Canada, meanwhile, are looking to make history and win a first Davis Cup title, going one better than in 2019 when they finished runners-up to Spain in what was their debut in a final.

Frank Dancevic’s side, who on paper must be the favourites with two singles players ranked inside the world top 20, have been made to work hard for both their victories – against Germany and Italy – at this year’s Finals in Malaga.

But their skipper believes they are where they deserve to be.

“I'm so proud of this team and so proud of the guys, what they have accomplished,” Dancevic said after Canada battled back to defeat Italy in a decisive doubles match.

“We are going to celebrate a bit tonight, for sure, but we have another match tomorrow. That's the ultimate goal. To win the cup. And that's what we are dialled in to do.”

Frank Dancevic

Much has been made of the fact that Canada’s dynamic duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime won the junior Davis Cup title back in 2015, but cast your eye over the other competitors that featured that same year and you will find none other than Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

The Aussies fell to eventual runners-up Germany in the group stage of the junior event, but de Minaur was as passionate about representing his country then as he is now and it’s his match-up against the in-form Canadian No.1 Auger-Aliassime that could light up Sunday’s final.

We are going to celebrate a bit tonight, for sure, but we have another match tomorrow. That's the ultimate goal. To win the cup (Frank Dancevic)

Shapovalov has yet to make his mark in singles at this year’s Finals, falling to world No.152 Jan-Lennard Struff on Thursday before coming up short in an electrifying encounter against Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.

No doubt the Canadian left-hander will remember that his team got the better of Australia in a Davis Cup quarter-final just three years ago.

Shapovalov lost in singles to de Minaur that day but returned to the court alongside Vasek Pospisil in doubles to complete the victory. 

With two nations playing with so much passion for the ultimate prize in men's team tennis, it’s safe to assume that captains and coaching staff, friends and family and everyone in between will be beaming with pride once more whatever the outcome.   

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