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Great Britain have drawn France and Czech Republic in the group-stages of the Davis Cup Finals 2020 in Madrid, from 23-29 November. The Brits will compete in Group C at the Caja Mágica, as they aim to take home the Davis Cup title for the 11th time in the tournament's history.
GB have faced France more times than any other team in the competition, having played 22 matches in the Davis Cup history. Of those 22 ties, Britain boasts a slight advantage having won 12, with the most recent victory coming in the 2015 quarter-final on their way to becoming champions. France come in to the event as the top-ranked team by Davis Cup rankings having won the title in 2017 and coming runners up in 2018. The nations last met in the 2017 quarter-final, where France came out as 4-1 winners on the day.
Completing the Group C are 3-time champions Czech Republic, having reached the finals for the first time. Great Britain have only faced the back-to-back Davis Cup 2012 and 2013 winners five times in their history, with a narrow head-to-head advantage having beaten them on three occassions. The teams most recent tie was held 20 years ago in 2000, where the Czech team knocked Britain out in the first round.
To reach the quarter-finals, the Brits will either have to top the group or go through as one of two of the runners up with the best records based on percentage of sets won.
Great Britain Davis Cup Captain, Leon Smith said: “France are always tough and we would have liked a weaker third team, like Sweden or Equador, Colombia or Hungary. However we should be favourites against the Czechs if all our players are fit and available."
Elsewhere, 2019 champions Spain have been drawn with last year's semi-finalists Russia and debutants Ecuador in Group A, with runners up Canada set to face Kazakhstan and Sweden in Group B. Croatia will play Australia and Hungary, whilst 32-time champions USA will be aiming to win their first title since 2007 as they face Italy and Colombia. In the final group, world numer one Novak Djokovic's Serbia have drawn Germany and Austria.
Group A: Spain (1), Russia, Ecuador
Group B: Canada (2), Kazakhstan, Sweden
Group C: France (3), Great Britain, Czech Republic
Group D: Croatia (4), Australia, Hungary
Group E: USA (5), Italy, Colombia
Group F: Serbia (6), Germany, Austria
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The ITF has announced the postponement of both the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals 2020 and Fed Cup Play-offs in response to COVID-19 health concerns.
The ITF COVID-19 Advisory Group has been monitoring the global spread and impact of COVID-19 since early February 2020, in continuous consultation with independent medical and travel advisers as well as international and national authorities.
In addition to the Fed Cup Finals, the Fed Cup Play-offs due to take place on 17-18 April in eight locations around the world, including Great Britain's tie with Mexico, have also been postponed and alternative dates in 2020 will be announced at a later date.
ITF president, David Haggerty said, “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators. This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.
“New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.
“In the meantime, the ITF COVID-19 Advisory Group will continue to monitor the situation closely and further decisions will be based on the facts, official data and expert advice.”
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With the final 18 countries confirmed for this year’s Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, the tournament’s seeds have now been revealed. These will determine which pot each team is drawn from on 12 March (16:00 GMT).
The seeds are based on each country’s current Davis Cup Nations Ranking, which is determined by their results over a four-year period. Points are collated based on recent performances and what stage of the competition the team reached at last year’s event. Bonuses are awarded based on the rank of the opposition they have beaten and for winning away ties in the qualifiers.
Each group will consist of three teams, made up of one country from each of Pots 1, 2 and 3. In the latest rankings Great Britain are 10th and will be the 9th seed heading to the finals. This puts them in Pot 2 for Thursday’s draw.
Last year’s winners Spain and runners-up Canada will enter the event as the No.1 and No.2 seeds, based on their performances in the 2019 finals. This could potentially set up a rematch for the Brits with Spain, who the team lost out to in last year’s semi-finals. GB’s other potential opponents from Pot 1 include top ranked team France, as well as Croatia, USA and Serbia.
Being in Pot 2 means that Britain will avoid group-stage ties with teams such as Germany, Italy, Australia, Russia and last year’s opponents Kazakhstan.
In Pot 3, Colombia will be joined by five teams making their Davis Cup Finals debuts, in Austria, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Hungary and Sweden.
Pot 1 1. Spain (3) 2. Canada (6) 3. France (1) 4. Croatia (2) 5. USA (5) 6. Serbia (7) Pot 2 7. Germany (8) 8. Italy (9) 9. Great Britain (10) 10. Australia (11) 11. Kazakhstan (12) 12. Russia (13) Pot 3 13. Sweden (14) 14. Austria (15) 15. Czech Republic (17) 16. Colombia (18) 17. Hungary (23) 18. Ecuador (24)
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Over the weekend, 24 teams from across the world competed for the chance to join Great Britain in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, in Madrid from 23-29 November. After a fantastic run in 2019, which saw them reach the semi-finals before eventually falling to hosts and eventual champions Spain, the Brits were one of six teams to receive an automatic spot for the season-ending event in 2020.
On Thursday 12 March, Captain Leon Smith and the rest of the British team will find out who their opponents will be for the group-stages of November’s finals. The draw will take place at 16:00 (GMT).
With all the qualifiers now completed, here's a look at who the Brits might face in finals, 5 years on from of their historic win in 2015.
2018 champions Croatia kick-started the weekend with a comfortable 3-1 win against India. On the same week that he confirmed that he will return to the Fever-Tree Championships again this summer, Marin Cilic won both his rubbers without losing a set, to secure the victory for his home nation.
However, 2016 winners, Argentina, were subject to a 3-1 upset from South American rivals Colombia. World number 148 Daniel Elahi Galan was in brilliant form as he beat Juan Ignacio Londero and Leonardo Mayer, both ranked inside the top 120.
Two other teams who many will see as serious contenders for 2020, Australia and Italy, sailed through to the finals, beating Brazil and Korea Republic 3-1 and 4-0 respectively.
It was emotional day for the United States team, with the Bryan brothers playing together in the Davis Cup for the last time. However, the team handled the pressure brilliantly winning eight consecutive sets to beat Uzbekistan 4-0. The legendary Bryan’s beat Sanjar Fayziev and Denis Istomin 6-3 6-4 to win their final match for the U.S.
For 2020, five nations will be making their first appearance in the Davis Cup Finals. Austria, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Hungary and Sweden all recorded big wins this weekend. Ecuador pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the round, beating Japan away, without dropping a single rubber.
Hungary also pulled off another shock result in beating former Davis Cup finalists Belgium, in the only match of the round to go down to the deciding match. A dominant showing from Attila Balazs and Marton Fucsovic in the singles, saw Hungary progress with a 3-2 victory over the Belgians.
Elsewhere, Czech Republic beat neighbouring Slovakia 3-1 at the AXA Arena NTC in Bratislava. Austria put in a strong performance without world number three Dominic Thiem as they beat Uruguay 3-1 and Sweden picked up a great 3-1 win at home against Chile.
The Brit’s group-stage opponents from 2019, Kazakhstan and Netherlands, met once again for a chance to reach this year’s finals and for the second time in four months, Kazakhstan came out on top with a 3-1 win. Alexander Bublik had a point to prove after losing his singles rubber to Robin Hasse when the two met in Madrid and he did just that, beating Hasse in straight sets after winning a tight match against Hasse's countryman, Tallon Griekspoor.
To complete the full list results from this weekend’s qualifying round, Germany won 4-1 at home to Belarus.
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