There are three 21st century Davis Cup champions in Group B with just one direct access place to the quarter-finals
Official team nomination: CROATIA
Captain: Zeljko Krajan
Official team nomination: SPAIN
Pablo Carreño Busta
Captain: Sergi Bruguera
Official team nomination: RUSSIA
Captain: Shamil Tarpischev
- Titleholders Croatia want to repeat their success of 2018 in this year’s Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals, but Spain and Russia both have top-10 players that are likely to make things difficult for them. At first glance, it seems to be the hardest group of the six in the initial round.
- Marin Cilic is the Croatian player with the highest total Davis Cup victories. He is the key man of Zeljko Krajan's team, which also has Borna Coric, one of the circuit's outstanding youngsters (22 years old, ranked 14 in the world). Doubles is also a Croatian strong point, with combinations between some of the best specialists: Mate Pavic, Nikola Mektic and Ivan Dodig.
- If there are no mishaps, and they can count on Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut – both in the top 10 – Spain, led by captain Sergi Bruguera can make things difficult for anyone. Nadal, winner this year of two Grand Slams, is a player who enjoys team competition, and Bautista Agut is having the best season of his career.
- Russia must be a candidate for the title – not only in 2019 but also in the future. The youth of their stars makes them fearsome: Daniil Medvedev (age 23, ranked four in the world) was a finalist in the US Open this year; Karen Khachanov (age 23, ranked nine) always plays his best tennis on hard courts – the surface of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals; and Andrey Rublev (age 21, ranked 35) has defeated both Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem this year.
- In group B we are promised some great clashes: Cilic against Nadal (the Spaniard leads their encounters 7-2) or against Medvedev (they faced each other for the first time last August in the quarter-finals of Washington, with triumph for the Russian). And there’s a more-than-likely repeat of last year's US Open final between Nadal and Medvedev; the Spaniard won that meeting, will he do it again?
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