The Davis Cup by Rakuten is barely a month away. The 2023 Qualifiers take place around the world over two days between 3-5 February. We've picked five of the most exciting duels of this first round of the season.

Norway-Serbia, the biggest clash?

The highlight of the next Qualifiers might well be No.6 seeds Serbia who travel to Norway, and could bring a 'top 10' duel between team No.1 players Casper Ruud and Novak Djokovic. It's scheduled for the weekend after the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, where the pair could also meet. The two previous ties between the nations were played under the flag of the former Yugoslavia, who were victorious on both occasions.

Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Croatia to play at home against Austria
Austria, with Dominic Thiem now recovered from the injuries that prevented him from competing in the 2021 Finals (the only Finals the Austrians have contested to date), will be looking to spring a surprise against the No.1 ranked team in the Davis Cup. The Croatians, finalists in 2021 and semi-finalists in 2022, will be challenging for a third title following victories in 2005 and 2018. The most recent of the three previous meetings between the two nations, in 2006, went Croatia's way with a 2-1 win over the Austrians.

Marin Cilic (CRO)

France travel to Hungary

The stats would put France as favourites, with 10 Davis Cup titles and eight players ranked in the top 100. But the Hungarian team, with Marton Fucsovics, Zsombor Piros and Attila Balazs, have proved dangerous at home. The French have contested every Finals since the introduction of the new format in 2019; the Hungarians are looking for a second appearance following their debut in 2021. France tip the balance in the head-to-head tally by 3-2.

Team France in the Finals 2022

Finland eager to face Argentina

Argentina must travel to Finland to challenge for their place in the Finals. They will be hoping to repeat their only victory against the Finns – back in 1960. The Finnish team, who just missed out to Belgium for a place in the Finals in 2022, will be eager to face Guillermo Coria's men and have already announced their players for February's tie; the same team that took on the Belgians, including top-50 ranked Emil Ruusuvuori and world No.11 doubles player, Harri Heliovaara, who reached the semi-finals in the last ATP Finals.

Emil Ruusuvuori (L) and Harri Heliovaara (FIN)

Colombia to host Great Britain

Colombia are one of the regulars in the Davis Cup Qualifiers. The 'Cafeteros' are seeking a return to the Finals having missed out in 2022 following defeat to the United States in Reno. However, when playing at home, Alejandro Falla's team are formidable. Bogota's altitude and the chosen surface (the tie is to be played on clay) could well provide obstacles for the British that they'll need to overcome if they are to reach the Finals for a fourth time. It will be the first meeting between the two nations.

Team Colombia celebrate reaching the Qualifiers 2023

There are five points at stake in the Qualifiers: two singles will be played on the first day and then the doubles and two more singles on the second. The players nominated for the 24 participating teams should be known by 8th January.

Australia and Canada, as finalists in 2022, as well as Italy and Spain, as guests, have qualified directly for the Group Stage of the Davis Cup by Rakuten 2023. Stay tuned for more updates!

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