The Davis Cup is regarded as the “World Cup of Tennis”, and is a team competition featuring a number of nations. Some of the best players in the world will take part in the event, which has undergone a radical change of format for 2019.
The competition has a long and illustrious history, and originally began as a shootout between the USA and England. As the event gathered momentum, more countries were added to the list, with the likes of India, Croatia and Argentina all being added to the roster.
Prior to 2019, the competition was held over the course of four separate weekends (Fri-Sun). These tended to be natural breaks in the ATP calendar, and were played in a best-of-5 format. However, the final match of the weekend was often considered to be a dead rubber. The tie-break wasn’t introduced until 1989.
Since 1981, the top 16 teams have competed in the “World Group”, whilst each of the levels below were regionalised. From 2019, the top 18 teams will be separated into six round-robin groups.
All the games will take place in a single location from 2019 onwards. The venue will be pre-determined by the ITF. Previously, each country would take it in turns to host a Davis Cup contest, and they would also be given carte blanche to pick the surface. This attracted some criticism, as countries deliberately chose ground conditions which arguably made it tougher for the opposition. However, from 2019, home advantage is no longer a consideration.
Similar to other knock-out tournaments, the winners of each group will progress to the quarter-finals, alongside the two best second-placed sides. Each tie will now consist of two singles matches and a doubles game. This will be far less time-consuming than the previous best-of-five format.
The lower groups will take on a slightly different format with just single ties taking place. These will be crucial to a country’s chances of avoiding relegation or achieving promotion.
This change of format has results in a number of logistical hurdes for the ITF to overcome, and the re-styled competition may need some ironing out. The four semi-finalists from 2018 automatically qualified for this years finals, with the remaining sides having to go through the qualification process.
There have been mixed responses from tennis players with both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal believed to be in favour of the new format. However, other players have expressed their sadness at the change of system.
Players have been known to opt out of playing in the Davis Cup. Each country will tend to pick their best players for the competition, as there is plenty of pride at stake. The coach (usually a former player) will be in charge of selecting the squad.
This year’s Davis Cup will take place at the end of November, and will follow the conclusion of the regular season. This could mean that some players will be ineligible for the competition due to injury. The games will be played on the indoor hard courts in Spain.
USA are the most successful nation to take part in the competition, and have been victorious on 32 occasions. Between 1950 and 1967, Australia won 15 times, and were truly dominant. Croatia won the 2018 staging of the Davis Cup, the last edition to use the old format.
When and Where?
The location of the Davis Cup will change each year, and it is determined by the ITF. From 2019 onwards, all of the finals will be held in a single location. Caja Magica in Madrid is the chosen venue for this year’s event.
Previously, the tournament was hosted in stages throughout the season, typically beginning in February, but it is now held at the end of the year. 2019’s tournament will take place at the end of November.
Why is the Davis Cup so Popular?
The Davis Cup is a chance to see some of the world’s finest tennis players take to the court. It is an action-packed weekend for tennis fans, who will need to decide which match to watch.
There is also plenty of national pride at stake in this competition with tennis fans cheering on their fellow countrymen. The euphoric feeling of securing the Davis Cup is still very important to players, and that is part of the reason why the fans still enjoy this competition. There is a unique atmosphere at each of these events, and this is all part of the enjoyment.
What Betting Opportunities Are Available?
Plenty! Although it not as popular with bettors as any of the four Grand Slams, there are still plenty of markets priced up by the bookmakers.
The Davis Cup outright market is the most popular, and will be priced up throughout the year. This can alter dramatically once qualification is complete.
Key Betting Markets
Davis Cup Winner – This is the simplest of the pre-tournament markets. It is a case of predicting which country will win the 2019 Davis Cup. Most of the nations involved have previously enjoyed success in the competition, and although this market may look straightforward, most teams are in with a chance of claiming top honours. Your chosen country will need to be victorious in the final in order to receive a payout.
Each Way Winner – Backing one of the bigger priced teams at an each-way price is another way of keeping across the tournament as a whole. Your chosen side will need to reach the final in order to receive a payout, and it will be returned a 1/2 the odds.
To Reach The Semi-Finals/Quarter Finals – This is a new market to tie in with the change of format. Most bookmakers will price up each sides chances of reaching the final four or final eight. The teams will be put in a round-robin format, and the top side will progress, alongside the two best second-placed sides. Teams must reach the requisite stage in order to receive a pay-out.
Match Winner – This is still the most popular way of betting on the Davis Cup. Each team will be priced up according to their chances of success in each individual tie, and the quality of player involved will have a big impact on the odds. Teams must prevail (in the best-of-three format) in order to receive a payout. The prospect of wagering on a dead rubber is eliminated by the recent alterations.
Correct Score – Each game will now be played in a three-set format. This has reduced the amount of tennis played, but it should make it more enjoyable for spectators. It also allows more matches to be played across the same weekend. Bettors can predict how many sets each match will consist of. Options of 3-0, 1-2 and 2-1 are available in this market.
Handicaps – Handicap markets are always very popular in tennis. These will give the underdog a chance of maintaining parity for the majority of the tie, or it allows punters to predict a very one-sided tie.
Point-by-Point Betting – Bettors will have the chance to get involved in the in-play markets, and this will allow them to wager on each individual point. Players can get involved at any point, and the markets will disappear as soon as the player steps towards the base-line. This is the ideal market for betting against those players who aren’t powerful servers.
Accumulators – With several games taking place across the weekend, there is always an opportunity for creating an accumulator. This will involved betting on several countries to win their respective matches. All of these sides must win in order to receive a payout.
Tie Break? – Tie Breaks have become part-and-parcel of this competition, and players can predict whether each match require one of these to help determine the result. These are common between big-servers, and this should be taken into consideration.
Bobby’s Big Betting Tips for the Davis Cup
Player Record in this Competition – This is an essential aspect of the Davis Cup, as some players take it far more seriously than others. There are many players who simply love representing their country, and they play with pride and passion. These are the kind of players who are ideal to back in this situation. There are other competitors who simply don’t play with same gusto. It is advised to check on their previous record in this competition, and whether they have taken it seriously in the past.
Injuries/Fatigue Could Help Determine the Tie – The new format of the Davis Cup means that it is now competed at the end of the campaign. It can often be a long, hard season for many players, particularly those who are carrying niggly injuries. If you can unearth information about a players current medical state, then this can be extremely helpful. It is not advised to back players who have skipped competitions or pulled out of tournaments in recent weeks. Look for players who are still at the top of their game despite a lengthy period of on-court activity.
Head-to-Head Records – Head-to-Head records are not quite as important in this competition, but they still play a significant role. Some players just cannot get the better of a particular competitor, and if they come up against one another in the Davis Cup, that record may continue.
Surface is Key – Previously in the Davis Cup, countries could decide the surface on which the matches will be held, but that is no longer the case. However, it is still important to take into consideration. Some players just don’t have the game to cope with the slower clay courts, and their style of play will not be suited to Spanish venue which is staging the 2019 event. If a player does not look comfortable on a particular court, it could be best to back the opposition.