The Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals have a new home and a new format. After two editions in Madrid in 2019 and 2021, it’s Malaga’s turn to welcome the best teams in the world in 2022 with the Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena set to host the Final 8 this week. 

Following September’s Group Stage, which was spread across Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia, it will be knockout from the start in Malaga with the action beginning on Tuesday when Australia takes on Netherlands in the first quarter-final.

Lleyton Hewitt’s side is led by Alex de Minaur, who has won eight of his last nine singles matches in this competition, while Netherlands has plenty of quality across the board, not least Wesley Koolhof, one half of the world No.1 doubles pairing.

Netherlands is one of two teams at this year’s Finals, along with Canada, that has never won the Davis Cup; Australia is bidding for its first title since 2003. 

Alex de Minaur (AUS)

Alex de Minaur: an impressive Davis Cup record for Australia

The winner of that tie will meet either Croatia or Spain in the semi-finals.

Spain has won all three previous ties against Croatia but the hosts have been hit hard by the withdrawal of Carlos Alcaraz through injury. While his quality and exuberance will undoubtedly be missed, Spain can still call on the experience of Pablo Carreno and Roberto Bautista

The quick court speed in Malaga may not naturally suit this Spanish squad but it could be a boost to Croatia, last year’s runners-up, who will be spearheaded by the big-hitting of Marin Cilic.

The return to form of Borna Coric in 2022 is another positive development for the Croatians, and if any of their ties go down to the deciding doubles they will be confident that the formidable duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic can get them across the line.

With Spain backed by the home crowd, and Croatia among the favourites this week, it promises to be an enthralling encounter. 

Marin Cilic: the Croatian big hitter

On the other side of the draw, Italy takes on USA and Germany faces Canada, with both of those quarter-finals taking place on Thursday. 

Italian men’s tennis is booming at the moment but injuries to Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini mean that responsibility falls on the two LorenzosMusetti and Sonego – to step up.

While they have only played seven Davis Cup ties between them they are backed up by Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli who have each played 28. 

USA captain Mardy Fish, meanwhile, is blessed with singles options. Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul are all in Malaga after enjoying career-best seasons on Tour, and Jack Sock remains one of the best doubles players in the world.

It’s a squad that surely gives USA a real shot at winning its first Davis Cup title since 2007. 

Frances Tiafoe

Frances Tiafoe: one of several singles options for USA

With Alexander Zverev not ready to make his return from injury, Germany is not quite at full strength but the equation for them will be simple: get to the doubles.

Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz are unbeaten in the Davis Cup, recording four victories together at the 2021 Finals and winning all three of their decisive matches at the Group Stage in September. 

But it will be a tough task to push Canada all the way. For the first time since 2019, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are both playing Davis Cup. Back then they helped to propel Canada into the final and ambition will be high to go one step further in Malaga.  

Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)

Felix Auger-Aliassime: reunited with Denis Shapovalov in the Davis Cup