The 2019 finalists will start the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals 2021 as top seeds in Group B. But nothing is set in stone; Kazakhstan beat the Netherlands in the Qualifiers, and Sweden come to the Finals with none other than Robin Soderling as captain. Only the group winners will get direct access to the quarter-finals.
Canada came close to achieving something that few teams have: winning the Davis Cup in their first appearance in the final. In 2019, Frank Dancevic's team only yielded to the determination of a relentless Spain led by Rafael Nadal, and no one doubts that in 2021 they will once again be passionate contenders for the title. Their tennis, full of youth and skill on the court, also has the advantage of experience. The promising young Denis Shapovalov – already in the world top 10 – and Felix Auger-Aliassime are joined by the veteran Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil. A perfect combination that can aspire to anything.
Don't miss in Group B:
- Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Their playing careers have only just begun but their potential must make them the clear contenders of their generation to lead international tennis over the next 10 years. Watch any of their matches and enjoy an on-court masterclass. Pure entertainment and full of energy.
- Vasek Pospisil. The 30-year-old Canadian proved at the 2019 Finals how the Davis Cup is capable of bringing out the best in any player who can handle the pressure of the moment. Pospisil gave us a lesson in stepping up as the team's second string after Auger-Aliassime's injury. In 2021 he will return to Madrid ready for anything.
- Shapovalov playing both singles and doubles. Few world top-10 players combine both disciplines on a regular basis, and Shapovalov is one of them. A dynamic and explosive specialist; watch out for who the Canadians nominate for the doubles.
- Although its players are not among the best in the world, don’t write off Kazakhstan! Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union they have been able to chart their own course and become one of the most consistent teams of the last decade. In 2019 they put Britain through their paces in the group stage. A mistake against them is often costly.
- Mikhail Kukushkin has been the clear cornerstone of the Kazakhstan team over the last decade after spending almost 15 years as a professional player. But watch out! Kazakhstan has a new rising star who is already their number one – Alexander Bublik, who is only 23 years old. To the genius of his shots he adds a certain charisma and an enormous serve capable of challenging anyone.
- Sweden makes its debut in the Finals with two young brothers – both under 25 – leading the team: Mikael Ymer (ranked 80) and Elias Ymer (194). Playing without pressure could be their greatest asset as they proved in the Qualifiers by beating Chile.
- Robin Soderling is on the Swedish bench as captain. Soderling was ranked world number four in 2010 and retired from competition with 10 titles under his belt, including the Masters 1000 in Paris. He also played in 10 other finals, most notably at Roland-Garros in 2009 and 2010.
- Will the pressure affect them? Soderling will experience his first Finals as captain, as will the new Kazakh captain, Yuriy Schukin, who was appointed in 2020 to replace Dias Doskarayev. The only experience either of them has had in charge was the 2020 Qualifiers.
And don’t forget! In the group phase every game counts. As well as direct qualification into the quarter-finals for the top-placed team in the group, the two best runners-up will also go through; and the number of sets and games won count towards this.
Enjoy all the excitement of the title fight from day one!