Davis Cup Weekend: 10 things to know about the first round

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Marin Cilic is going to tie the record for most ties ever played for Croatia. (AP)

Fresh from the Australian Open, the stars of the ATP tour will take the court again this Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the first round of Davis Cup takes place at tennis stadiums across the globe.

Here are 10 things to know:

1. Sixteen teams are trying to reach the quarterfinals this weekend. The eight teams that win their first-round ties this weekend will advance to the Davis Cup quarterfinals, which are in April.

2. Four Top 10 players are leading their countries in the World Group. World No. 3 Marin Cilic, World No. 5 Alexander Zverev, World No. 7 David Goffin and World No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta will try to lead Croatia, Germany, Belgium and Spain, respectively, to first-round victories this weekend.

World No. 6 Dominic Thiem is also in action but he’s in Austria’s zonal group tie against Belarus.

3. Another slew of Top 20 players are in action, too. Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner will be joined by Nick Kyrgios, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille in World Group first-round ties.

4. The US is looking for its first ever Davis Cup win over Serbia. Serbia beat the US on clay in Belgrade, Serbia in 2010 and on hard courts in Boise, Idaho in 2013. But this time the US has a huge advantage in terms of the team they’ve fielded, given all four Americans on the team are currently ranked in the Top 50 (No. 12 Querrey, No. 18 Isner, No. 43 Ryan Harrison and No. 50 Steve Johnson).

Meanwhile, none of Serbia’s players are in the Top 80.

5. One of the breakout stars of the Australian Open is back in action. Kyle Edmund, who made his first major semifinal in Melbourne, leads Great Britain against a Spanish team that includes Carreno Busta and two men just outside the Top 20: Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Roberto Bautista Agut.

6. Nobody beats the Netherlands 11 times in a row…? France, the defending champions, open against the Netherlands, whom they’ve beaten all 10 times they’ve played them in a rivalry that dates back 93 years. The French team is also stacked—two Top 20 players in Tsonga and Pouille, a former Top 10 player in Richard Gasquet and doubles greats Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

7. Cilic is going to tie the record for most ties ever played for Croatia. Fresh off his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, the No. 3-ranked Cilic will be playing his 22nd career Davis Cup tie this weekend, which equals the all-time record set by Ivan Ljubicic—who also went as high as No. 3.

8. The 2017 finalists got to choose whether to host their first-round ties in 2018. A new rule for 2018 gives the champion and runner-up teams from the year before the choice of whether to host their first-round ties—France (the champion) and Belgium (the runner-up) both opted to host.

9. They’re also trialing five-man teams this year. There are a few things being trialed in Davis Cup this year: team captains are able to nominate five-man teams; no fifth rubber will be played if the fourth rubber is decisive; and only the fourth rubber will be played if the score of the tie is 3-0.

10. The losing teams this weekend will still have a shot at staying in the World Group. All eight losing teams will compete in September’s World Group playoffs—the winners of those stay in.

You can watch Davis Cup action all weekend on Tennis Channel—check out the listings now!


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