No fewer than 23 Davis Cup titles (you read that right, 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 is guaranteed. Every game will be key in this incredibly close battle.
Champions in 2017, finalists in 2018, but with a disappointing showing in the 2019 Finals that deprived them of a place in the quarter-finals, France hopes to re-find 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 sees 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, narrowly missing out on the final; and the Czechs, after coming through the Qualifiers, will no doubt once again display the solid performance that characterises 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 nine players in the world's top 100, France has a wide pool from which to choose a team for the Davis Cup. The French captain will announce his choice ten days before the start of the competition. And there could be some surprises.
- Gael Monfils. A top-20 player at 34, he is still the top-ranked Frenchman. His experience, the versatility of his tennis and his physical game always make him a fearsome rival. 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. Will they be there this time? Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino and Gilles Simon are also possibilities. And watch out for their sensational doubles pair: Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
- Sébastien Grosjean has been captain of the French team since 2019. 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 fit for the Finals 2021?
- Kyle Edmund (and his fearsome forehand!) and Dan Evans have previously been selected by captain Leon Smith for the singles in Murray's absence, and Cameron Norrie is a possibility too. Watch out for Edmund: in the 2019 Finals he remained undefeated, with three victories from his three singles matches.
- The formidable British duo of Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. They are one of the best doubles teams in the world, with great tactical understanding and a wealth of skills only seen in 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. He was also Andy Murray’s coach when the player was aged 10–13. 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 them.
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; the number of sets and games won count towards this.
Enjoy all the excitement of the title fight from day one!