The Davis Cup: the international event in men’s tennis. Its goal? To determine which nation has the best group of men’s tennis players. A noble goal, indeed, but flawed. Why? Some nations in the quarterfinals didn’t have their best players available … or interested.
In fact, all three of our favorites from last time failed to advance for various reasons.
Scheduled just one weekend after the Wimbledon finals, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic sat out of the Davis Cup semis for Serbia, pretty much burying his team’s chances. Meanwhile, injuries forced both Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil to the sideline for Canada, allowing Belgium to pick up an easy win. France was the only favorite that didn’t have an excuse, other than the fact that Andy Murray is really good.
Murray’s dominance, plus the fact that Great Britain will have home court for their semi-final matchup, makes the Brits our new favorites as we re-examine the odds for the Davis Cups’ final four, which will get underway on September 18.
Great Britain: 3/2
It has been a very long time since Great Britain won the Davis Cup, like pre-World War II long! The Brits best chance to win the Cup since 1936 is entirely thanks to Murray, the world no. two. In the quarters, he beat Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga in straight sets, then earned a doubles win on the second day with brother Jamie before knocking off Gilles Simon in four sets. Legitimately excited to win this Cup for the crown, Murray should be in fine shape for the next round, as the ATP schedule begins to wane in September.
Tour douchebag Nick Kyrgios has been dominating headlines for offside comments involving fellow countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis. Facing their former jailor Great Britain in the next round, the Aussies better hope that Murray is vulnerable to trash-talking, otherwise they’ll need to step up their game on the court in a big way. Both Kyrgios and Kokkinakis lost last round against Kazakhstan, but were bailed out by teammates Samuel Groth and Lleyton Hewitt.
Belgium have to consider themselves extremely lucky to be in the semis. Not only did they get to face Canada sans Raonic and Pospisil, but they met a Federer and Wawrinka-less Switzerland before that. Now the Belgians face an Argentinian side that they actually rival in terms of talent. (David Goffin is the highest ranked player between the two nations, sitting 14th in the world.) And the Belgians will have the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd and choosing the surface.
Argentina, like Belgium, are in search of their first-ever Davis Cup title. Even though they were fortunate to escape playing Djokovic last round, they still showed some quality play, knocking off a Serbian team lead by an able Viktor Troicki. Leornardo Mayer will lead this team into just their second matchup ever with Belgium. Regardless of who wins, though, they should be underdogs in the finals.
(Photo Credit: johnwnguyen (Flickr: DSC_3413.jpg) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)