The elimination of Spain in the group stage has made the final phase of the Davis Cup lose its shine, which starting this Tuesday will have the attraction of seeing the best tennis player on the planet: Novak Djokovic. Carlos Alcaraz will not be there, already on vacation after the defeat in the ATP Finals, but the Serbian will be there, recently crowned master for the seventh time and in his 400th week at the top of the ranking.
With practically no rest, Djokovic will fly from Turin to Malaga, a city he knows well since he resides in Marbella, to face Great Britain this Thursday, which appears here without Andy Murray, injured at the last minute.
The one from Belgrade is looking for his second salad with his country, after the one he won in 2010 against France. Serbia has only played in one final since that title, in 2013 with a loss to the Czech Republic, but Djokovic’s record is immaculate. He has not lost an individual match since 2011, has accumulated 19 consecutive wins in this competition and has won the last 22 sets that he has played.
The question regarding the Serbians is whether their teammates will be able to match their level, since for this feat Djokovic will have Laslo Djere (33), Dusan Lajovic (46), Miomir Kecamnovic (55) and Hamad Medjedovic (110). The main problem may not be so much not having another top singles tennis player, but rather not having a competent doubles pair, since the format of the competition is two singles matches and a doubles that can be definitive. The best Serbian doubles player, by ranking, is Kecmanovic, number 159.
For the first quarter-final match, Djokovic and his team will face Great Britain, led by a declining Cameron Norrie, Jack Draper, Liam Broady and the doubles couple Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury, both top 10 in the category. .
In the semi-finals, the winner of this match will face the Italy-Netherlands match. The Italians start as another of the main favorites, but with the handicap of not having a decent doubles. Jannik Sinner will lead the transalpines, accompanied by Lorenzo Musetti, who since mid-August has won three of the twelve matches he has played, Matteo Arnaldi (44), Lorenzo Sonego (47) and Simone Bolelli, who only plays doubles. The Netherlands’ greatest strength is the doubles, with Wesley Koolhof (5) and Jean-Julien Rojer (18) and trusting in the good indoor work of Tallon Griekspoor, who this year had Djokovic on the ropes in Paris-Bercy.
In the other two qualifiers, Canada will face Finland and the Czech Republic will play Australia. The Canadians, current champions, do not have Denis Shapovalov, injured in the knee, and rely on Felix Auger-Aliassime, the youth of Gabriel Diallo, the experience of Vasek Pospisil, who has played more than 50 games in the competition, and a Milos Raonic who has not played since the US Open. Finland, surprise of the group stage, has Emil Ruusuvuori (77) and Harri Heliovara (29 in doubles) as references.
The Czechs, for their part, are the poorest team, with Jiri Lehecka (31) as the best asset, in addition to Thomas Machac (70), Jakub Mensik (152) and Adam Pavlasek (56 in doubles). They will have a tough duel against Australia, led by Alex de Minaur (12) and Jordan Thompson (56) and the doubles made up of Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell.
The Martín Carpena Sports Palace in Malaga will be the scene of these meetings: Canada-Finland (November 21), Czech Republic-Australia (November 22), Italy-Holland and Serbia-Great Britain (November 23). The first semifinal will be on Friday starting at 4:00 p.m. and the second on Saturday, starting at 12:00 p.m. The final will be played on Sunday starting at 4:00 p.m.