First-round play in the Davis Cup begins in early March with 16 countries vying for the title. Change has been the only constant over the last few years; six different nations have reached the finals in the last three editions. In 2013, the Czech Republic beat Serbia; two years ago, Switzerland defeated France; and last season, Great Britain bested Belgium.
Great Britain and Belgium were both surprise finalists last year. (Great Britain started the tournament with 30/1 odds to win, while Belgium was an even longer shot at 50/1.) So you can expect more upheaval at the top this time around. Serbia and France are the two big betting favorites, but there are several other double-digit prices worth considering.
2016 Davis Cup Odds and Preview:
The 2010 champs are this year’s favorites because world number one, Novak Djokovic, is on the roster. But the Serbs have depth, too; Viktor Troicki is a top-25 player in singles, while Nenad Zimonjic has a long history of solid doubles play, especially in the Davis Cup. Janko Tipsarevic is another veteran with an excellent track record in the tournament.
First round match: vs. Kazakhstan (hardcourt).
While France hasn’t won the Davis Cup since 2001, they nine titles, overall. They lack a true go-to singles player, but have even better depth than the Serbs with Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Benoit Paire, Jeremy Chardy, and Nicolas Mahut all vying for the right to represent the Tricolore. In an event where the injuries and scheduling conflicts often get in the way, it’s great to have options.
First round match: vs. Canada (clay).
Only the United States (32) has more Davis Cup victories than Australia (28). The recently retired Lleyton Hewitt has transitioned to team coach already and will rely on youngsters Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios. They fell to Great Britain in the semis last year.
First round match: vs. United States (grass).
Great Britain (16/1)
The defending champs earned their first tournament victory in 79 tries last year. They don’t have much depth, but they do have world number two Andy Murray (who played a part in all three victories in the final against Belgium) and Andy’s brother, Jamie, who’s a doubles specialist. Andy did not participate in the event in 2010 or 2012, and it is unclear whether he will play this time after winning the title last year.
First round match: vs. Japan (hardcourt).
United States (17/1)
The U.S. has won the Davis Cup a record 32 times; they’ve also been the runner-up another 29. They haven’t won (or been to the final) since 2007, though, when they beat Russia. The US is still dominant in doubles thanks to the Bryan brothers, but relying on John Isner and Donald Young in singles isn’t a recipe for success.
First round match: at Australia (grass).
France look like the better option among the top favorites. They’re the best team on the bottom of the bracket and have an easier draw than Serbia. Djokovic and company may have to get by the defending champs from Great Britain just to make the semis.
If Murray decides to play, Great Britain offers value.
(Photo credit: Yann Caradec [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)