The Serbian Novak Djokovic and the Italian Jannik Sinner will be in charge of enhancing an orphaned Davis Cup in Spain after the setback in the qualifying phase without its current number one, Carlos Alcaraz. The tournament will be held again in Malaga, from November 21 to 26, a city that is already warming up with the arrival this Thursday of the legendary Saladera, a trophy that the Spanish team has lifted up to six times. So far in the 21st century, it is the most successful country in the competition with five titles, achieved in 2004, two consecutively in 2008 and 2009, in 2011 and the last one achieved in 2019 against Canada. Precisely the North Americans, led by Felix Auger-Aliassime, defend the title won last year against Australia at the Martín Carpena. Croatia and the United States, two of the big favorites, have also been left out of the fight for the biggest team title in world tennis.
With a previous stop at Madrid’s Atocha Station, the enormous trophy arrived this afternoon in the Andalusian city. The objective of the organization, now without the management of Kosmos, which broke the agreement at the beginning of 2023, is to continue on the Costa del Sol at least next year. “The format will be the same,” confirmed David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). “We want to be the home of world tennis,” ventured José María Arrabal, Secretary of Sports of the Junta de Andalucía, referring to the fact that this year they have also hosted the Billie Jean King Cup and the junior competitions.
It will be the second consecutive time that the Andalusian city will host the final, which will have the world number 1 and the current fourth in the ATP ranking as its top stars. Both will arrive after playing the Masters Cup, and where Sinner achieved his most prestigious victory this week against Djokovic at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. Both could meet on the Costa del Sol if their respective countries reach the semi-finals. The Italians’ first match will be against Tallon Griekspoor’s Netherlands (23), while the Serbians will have to get rid of Great Britain, led by Cameron Norrie (18). ‘Nole’ has it in his mind to win his second Davis Cup for his record, after the one he won in 2010. «It is one of the most beautiful memories and one that I hold most fondly on a tennis court. I hope to be physically well and collaborate in everything possible for the triumph of my country. “I’m looking forward to playing,” the winner of 24 Grand Slams said days ago.
The quarterfinals are completed by the duel between Canada and Finland, the big surprise among the eight finalists, which has Emiil Ruusuvuori as leader and the only ‘top100’ of the formation; and the Czech Republic of Jiri Lehecka (31) against the Australia led by Alex de Miñaur (12).
«The Davis Cup is special, this is the only competition in which the public has the opportunity to participate more actively cheering for their country. It is also the competition where the most surprises happen, where there are the most nerves and that can have a positive or negative effect,” commented Feliciano López, director of the Davis Cup finals with five salad bowls. «That this year is such an open final is a reflection of the state of tennis today. It is true that Djokovic has proven to be above and then Alcaraz, but then there is no other clear dominating tennis player,” he explained before the trophy left for the María Zambrano station in Málaga, where the city’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, received the cup that the city it represents will guard until Sunday the 27th when the champion is decided.