Davis Cup Final 2018: Format, Rules, Players and France vs. Croatia Schedule

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist INovember 22, 2018

Marin Cilic of Croatia takes part in a training session on November 20, 2018 in Marcq-en-Baroeul, northern France, before the Davis Cup tennis final opposing France to Croatia. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)

France will be out to retain the Davis Cup when they host Croatia in the 2018 final on the clay courts of Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Yannick Noah's side will return to the scene of last year's triumph, where they beat Belgium 3-2 to seal their 10th Davis Cup. The match will be Noah's final game in charge, and Amelie Mauresmo will take over the captaincy in 2019.

Standing in France's way will be a Croatia team led by world No. 7 Marin Cilic. The visitors have won the Davis Cup once before, in 2005, and were beaten finalists in 2016.


Dates: Friday, November 23-Sunday, November 25

Day 1: 1 p.m. GMT, 8 a.m. ET

Day 2: 1 p.m. GMT, 8 a.m. ET

Day 3: 12 p.m. GMT, 7 a.m. ET



The two teams will play five matches to decide the winner of the Davis Cup. The action begins on Friday with two singles matches, followed by a doubles fixture on Saturday and concluding with Sunday's reverse singles.

The matches are all played in a best-of-five-set format. The winner of each match scores one point, and the first team to score three are the winners.



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France takes part in a training session on November 20, 2018 in Marcq-en-Baroeul, northern France, before the Davis Cup tennis final opposing France to Croatia. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRA

France are without some key men against Croatia, as Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon all miss out through injury.

However, the hosts have been able to include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after an injury-interrupted 2018:

Davis Cup @DavisCup

🇫🇷 Captain @NoahYannick has announced the France team to take on Croatia in the #DavisCupFinal! 🇫🇷 @la_pouille @jimchardy @p2hugz @nmahut @tsonga7 #TousEnBleu https://t.co/XcZFbvgPCa

Croatia are at full strength for the final. Cilic is the headline act, while 22-year-old rising star Borna Coric is currently ranked 12th in the world:

Davis Cup @DavisCup

🇭🇷 Croatia's team to face France in the #DavisCupFinal 🇭🇷 @cilic_marin @borna_coric Franko Skugor Mate Pavic @DodigTennis #IdemoHrvatska https://t.co/tbf8J6aUhA


Davis Cup Final Preview

France's team poses with the trophy after winning the Davis Cup World Group final tennis match between France and Belgium at The Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq near Lille on November 26, 2017. 
 / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN        (Photo cred

France captain Noah is hoping for "one more great memory" in his final Davis Cup match, per Ian Chadband at the tournament's official website.

The 58-year-old has already guided his country to three wins in the competition, in 1991, 1996 and 2017, and will be hoping to bow out with another victory in Lille.

France have beaten the Netherlands, Italy and Spain to reach the final. The loss of top-ranked player Gasquet due to injury will be a blow, but the team possess great strength in depth.

The hosts have chosen a clay surface for the final. Lucas Pouille has warned there is a risk of injury but says the surface should favour his team, per Agence France-Presse:

"At the end of the year, it isn't easy to make in two, three weeks all the necessary preparation for this surface. There is a risk of injury caused by fatigue. In the end, they have made the best choice. We succeeded in having quality preparation and quantity. I think it's the best surface for us if we want to have a chance of winning."

Cilic does not expect to find it difficult adjusting to clay, despite coming into the tie directly from the hard courts of the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena, per the Davis Cup website.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16:  Marin Cilic of Croatia in action in his third singles round robin match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during Day Six of the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 Arena on November 16, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finn
Julian Finney/Getty Images

"I will be ready," he said. "We had Davis Cup ties already on clay immediately after hard court tournaments. I believe I'm going to be fine, adjusting my play, a bit more of sliding, running. The conditions indoor clay are slightly faster than outdoor clay. I will be fine."

Cilic managed just one win in London, as he failed to make it out of the group stage. He beat America's John Isner in straight sets but lost to top seed Novak Djokovic and eventual winner Alexander Zverev.

The 30-year-old will still shoulder Croatia's hopes against France and will have fond memories of the last time the two sides met in the 2016 semi-finals. Cilic won both of his singles matches and partnered Ivan Dodig to victory in the doubles.

The visitors will need their star man to provide the inspiration once again if they are to taste victory in the 106th Davis Cup final. France know exactly what it takes to win this trophy and will have the backing of a noisy home crowd in Lille.