Davis Cup Finals 2019: Format, Rules, Players and Bracket Schedule

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2019

VALENCIA, SPAIN - APRIL 08:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a point against Alexander Zverev of Germany during day three of the Davis Cup World Group Quarter Final match between Spain and Germany at Plaza de Toros de Valencia on April 8, 2018 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

The 2019 Davis Cup Finals begin on Monday in Madrid, with 18 nations vying for supremacy at the Manzanares Park Tennis Center.

A new format is in place for the tournament, and the winners will be decided after a week of competition.

Teams have been drawn into six round-robin groups for the opening phase. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are expected to feature for Spain, Serbia and Great Britain, respectively.

Each tie will feature two singles matches and a doubles match, played across three sets. The winners of each group will advance to the quarter-finals, with the two best runners-up also proceeding to the knockouts.

Croatia are the reigning champions after beating France in the 2018 final.

                       

Davis Cup Finals Draw

Group A: (1) France, Japan, Serbia

Group B: (2) Croatia, Russia, Spain

Group C: (3) Argentina, Chile, Germany

Group D: (4) Belgium, Colombia, Australia

Group E: Kazakhstan, Netherlands, (5) Great Britain

Group F: Italy, Canada, (6) United States

                    

Davis Cup Schedule

Monday, Nov. 18

Croatia vs. Russia

Belgium vs. Colombia

Italy vs. Canada

                  

Tuesday, Nov. 19

France vs. Japan

Argentina vs. Chile

Kazakhstan vs. Netherlands

Spain vs. Russia

Australia vs. Colombia

U.S. vs. Canada

                

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Serbia vs. Japan

Argentina vs. Germany

Great Britain vs. Netherlands

Croatia vs. Spain

Belgium vs. Australia

U.S. vs. Italy

                  

Thursday, Nov. 21

France vs. Serbia

Germany vs. Chile

Great Britain vs. Kazakhstan

                

Quarter-finals: Thursday, Nov. 21 and Friday, Nov. 22.

Semi-finals: Saturday, Nov. 23.

Final: Sunday, Nov. 24.

                  

Full bracket information can be found at the Davis Cup's official website. A list of the players in each squad can be found here.

                     

Preview

Spain are the favourites to win the Davis Cup on home soil, according to Oddschecker, and the involvement of Nadal will be the key to success.

Nadal finished the season top of the world rankings once again but has faced a punishing schedule in recent months. However, the Spaniard competed at the Nitto ATP Finals in London earlier in November and successfully came through his matches while dealing with an abdominal injury, per Uche Amako of the Daily Express.

Nadal has been passionate about representing his country, and it would take a serious issue to stop his involvement in the capital.

Mercurial talent Roberto Bautista Agut will be a team-mate of Nadal's, and the 31-year-old is the world No. 9 after a strong season.

Serbia will also assess the condition of Djokovic ahead of the tournament after his elimination from the ATP Finals. The superstar suffered a reoccurrence of an elbow injury at the O2, per Amako.

France have been drawn with the Serbs in Group A, and their squad features outstanding potential, with Gael Monfils, Benoit Paire, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all present.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 15: Andy Murray of Great Britain returns the ball during a training session during Day Two of the 2019 David Cup at La Caja Magica on November 15, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images for LTA)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Murray's appearance should delight spectators, with the Brit continuing his journey back into top-flight tennis after injury.

Great Britain are a wild-card entry in the finals and previously won the Davis Cup in 2015. Murray was a major factor in the success, and he will hope his involvement will inspire his team this year.

The Scot expressed his delight at representing his country once again and said he believes they can progress from Group E against Kazakhstan and the Netherlands, per Sky Sports.

"In terms of the group stages, I think we've got a good chance in the group.

"I think we can get out of the group. It's not a gimme for us, there's so many good combinations in terms of the Kazakh singles and Dutch doubles so we'll need to play well to get through it."

The new format has caused controversy, but the historic tournament was in need of revamping. Fans often responded well to the home-and-away setup, but the Davis Cup's latest incarnation should attract a whole new audience.

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