Photo : Mauricio Paiz|||

The experts have spoken!

As we get ready for the inaugural edition of the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, we asked six tennis experts for their predictions:

  • Frederic Nieyemer
  • Simon Larose
  • Caroline Cameron
  • Robert Bettauer
  • Damien Cox
  • Marie-Ève Pelletier

Although Canada is in a difficult group, our experts believe the team can go far in the competition.

“If Canada is healthy with all hands on deck, I believe it has the depth, player style options, skills and variety to win the competition. This is the first time Canada can be considered a real contender for the Davis Cup title based on quality of team and surface,” commented Robert Bettauer.

Photo: Mauricio Paiz

All six experts unanimously picked Canada to win Group F, which includes Italy and the United States, both of which can be considered tennis powerhouses. Italy currently has two players ranked inside the Top 15, as Matteo Berrettini (no. 8) and Fabio Fognini (no. 12) have had very successful 2019 seasons. And while the United States may not have made as many headlines this year, they are not to be taken lightly. The Americans have a deep pool of talent and even when they assemble a squad that some would consider as a “B Team”, they are still sending four players ranked in the Top 50 and one former Top 10.

Despite the absence of Milos Raonic, Canada has a fighting chance not only in their round robin matches, but to go deep in the tournament. However, they will need to rely on some of their younger players to get the job done.

Among the experts, the name of Denis Shapovalov was often highlighted. Despite some struggles earlier on in the year, the 20-year-old has had some standout performances in recent weeks, capturing his first ATP title in Stockholm and reaching the final at the Paris Masters. He will undoubtably be one of the driving forces of the Canadian team and could very well be the MVP of the competition.

With the event taking place in Madrid and with the participation of World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, many are picking Spain as the heavy favorites in the competition. Playing in front of a home crowd certainly has its advantages, but other nations are not to be counted out. A dominant force in the previous Davis Cup format, France should be considered as contenders, although they would have to make it out of their group with Japan and Serbia.

“France looks like it has all the pieces in place. With Gael Monfils, Jo-Wifried Tsonga and Benoit Paire, the French have the singles know-how and their doubles team of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues-Herbert won the Paris title and will be one of the few intact combinations at Davis Cup,” explained Damien Cox.

In every competition, there is always the possibility of an upset. Other than Canada, there are a few other nations that could very well go on surprisingly deep runs.

Among the underdogs, Russia has the potential to cause the surprise in Group B (Spain and Croatia), which many experts consider to be the Group of death. 2019 was a good year for Russian players, particularly for Daniil Medvedev who put his name on the map by capturing two Masters 1000 titles, two ATP 250 titles and reaching five other finals, including at the US Open.

“Look out for Russia,” echoed Cox. “Daniil Medvedev is a dangerous, dangerous player right now. Like Tomas Berdych back in 2012 and 2013, he looks like the kind of one-man force who could win it all for his country.”

Our experts also singled out Italy, Croatia, Australia and Canada as other potential countries that could cause some surprises in the competition.

Next week, we will find out how many of these predictions will ring true.

Do you agree with our experts?

How far do you think Canada can go in this competition?


*Feature photo : Mauricio Paiz