Years pass by with one generation giving way to the next, but something which remains untouched is the desire of the world’s best players to fight for the Davis Cup title. Within the current vintage, there is a sense of a new wave of talent emerging from the shadows of greats which have gone before. The likes of Canada and Russia epitomise that and are arguably strong candidates to embark upon a silverware bid in the coming years.
When Canada reached the final of the 2019 Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals, the selection of players for their showdown with Spain reflected their newfound status and ambition.
Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who were aged 20 and 19 at the time, were to face the vastly experienced Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut. Both, however, showed an unerring passion to make Davis Cup history on behalf of Canada.
The day before the final, without Auger-Aliassime on court, Canada overcame Russia, another team led by hugely talented young players in Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov, who have shown enormous promise and maturity beyond their years.
Even though Rublev, Khachanov and Russia slipped to defeat in the semi-finals, they showcased enough talent and collective spirit to suggest that a title tilt in 2021 is very much a possibility.
There are plenty of other examples of emerging quality, meanwhile, some of whom are already well-established and occupy lofty positions within the men’s world rankings, which all hints at some entertaining years of Davis Cup action to come.
The names almost roll off the tongue. Daniil Medvedev of Russia, who missed the 2019 Finals, Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, Kyle Edmund of Great Britain, Italian Matteo Berrettini, Croatia’s Borna Coric and Australians Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios are all aged 25 or under.
And the list does not stop there. Greece may compete at World Group II level but Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is currently ranked No. 6 in the world, has consistently expressed his love for the competition.
The same applies to Cristian Garin of Chile and United States quartet Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe. All of these players are aged 24 and under, as is Germany’s Alexander Zverev, which suggests some amazing battles could lie ahead.
Factor in someone of the standing of US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who may be slightly older than the aforementioned players but is still only 27 and has a burning desire to fire Austria to their maiden Davis Cup success.
Whatever the era, it is fair to say that dreams, ambition, the feeling of belonging to a team and the responsibility of representing an entire nation in the fight for the Davis Cup honours are within the DNA of those aiming to be crowned world champions.