No fewer than 23 Davis Cup titles (yes, 23!!) will be in Group C in the next Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals. France, Great Britain and the Czech Republic will fight for the group’s only automatic place in the quarter-finals and nothing can be predicted. Every game will be key in this incredibly close battle.
Champions in 2017, finalists in 2018 and with a disappointing debut in the 2019 Finals that deprived them of a place in the quarter-finals, France is dreaming of re-finding in 2021 the glory and consistency they have enjoyed in the Davis Cup in recent years. With a wild card from the organisers and freed from playing the Qualifiers, their direct access to the next Finals – and their seeding – saw them drawn into a challenging Group C: they will have to fight none other than Great Britain and the Czech Republic for a direct place in the quarter-finals. And challenge it will be: Great Britain showed in 2019 how they have perfectly adapted to the new format, finishing only a small step away from sneaking into the final; and the Czechs, after coming through the Qualifiers, will debut in the new fight for the title with the tradition and solid performance that always characterizes them in this competition. A tough and uncertain battle awaits all three nations and any small margin could be key.
Don't miss in Group C:
- The cast of French players. With no fewer than eleven players in the world's top 100, France has one of the widest pools from which to form a competitive team for the Davis Cup. Ten days before the start of the competition the French captain will announce his choice. And look out: there could be surprises.
- Gael Monfils. A top-10 player at 34, he is still the top-ranked Frenchman. The versatility of his tennis and his physical game always make him a fearsome rival, armed with experience. He played the 2010 and 2014 finals against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and beat the Swiss in three sets. Keep an eye on him.
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille have been the other key players in the French team over recent years. Who will be chosen this time? Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino and Gilles Simon have also been available for selection. And watch out for their sensational doubles pair: Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
- Pay attention. Since 2019, Sébastien Grosjean has been the captain of the French team. He reached world No.4 in 2002 and won the Davis Cup in 2001.
- Great Britain is much more than just Andy Murray. Even with him injured and only playing one singles match in the group stage, in 2019 they came close to making the final. Will he be ready for the Finals 2021?
- Kyle Edmund (and his fearsome forehand!) and Dan Evans are usually selected by captain Leon Smith for the singles in Murray's absence. Watch out for Edmund: in the 2019 Finals he remained undefeated, with three victories from his three singles matches.
- The lethal British duo of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. They prepared thoroughly for the 2019 Finals and their partnership has been extended to 2020 as well. They are one of the best doubles teams in the world, with a great tactical understanding and a host of skills only available to the most specialised players.
- Leon Smith. The British captain has been in post for 10 years now and led the team to the Davis Cup title in 2015. And you know what? He was Andy Murray’s coach between the ages of 10 and 13. With Smith, Murray became one of the best juniors in the world.
- Jiri Vesely. The Czech number one is a tremendous attacker and a player who adapts perfectly to the hard court. The French and British number ones could have a very tough test ahead of him.
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!