November 24, 2021 6:00 PM
Adam Evans

2021 Davis Cup Finals – Tournament Preview & Prediction

Select the sports you want to hear about and TSZ will send the best previews, analysis and predictions straight to your inbox. Sign up today!


When is the 2021 Davis Cup Finals on and what time does it start? The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will run from Thursday 25th November until Sunday 5th December, 2021

Where is the 2021 Davis Cup Finals taking place? The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will take place across three venues in Austria (Innsbruck), Spain (Madrid) and Italy (Turin)

What surface is the 2021 Davis Cup Finals being played on? The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will take place on an indoor hard court

Where can I get tickets for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals? Visit this link for the latest ticket information for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals

What channel is the 2021 Davis Cup Finals on? The 2021 Davis Cup Finals will be televised on Eurosport 1 live in the UK

Where can I stream the 2021 Davis Cup Finals? Eurosport subscribers can stream the 2021 Davis Cup Finals live via their platform or via a Eurosport pass on Amazon Prime

GROUP A – Spain, Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), Ecuador - Madrid Arena, Madrid

Group A looks the truest group of death at the Davis Cup Finals with reigning champions Spain taking on this season’s ATP Cup champions Russia in what should be the deciding tie on Sunday. Both sides will take on Group A minnows Ecuador first on Friday and Russia on Saturday with the South American side unlikely to win a single rubber.

World number 149 Emilio Gomez is Ecuador’s first option with just five tour-level matches behind him this season. He will face world number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta with the Spaniard opening things on home soil and likely to enjoy the conditions in Madrid as an excellent hardcourt player. The lack of Rafael Nadal, and 2019 hero Roberto Bautista Agut, is unlikely to douse home spirits with man of the moment Carlos Alcaraz a hugely powerful second option at world number 32. The 18-year-old has beaten the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner in recent months and comes in hot from a title-winning campaign at the Next Gen ATP Finals. With both PCB and Alcaraz likely to win their rubbers in straight sets, this tie should be over well before the doubles where Spain have the vast experience of Feliciano Lopez and recent ATP Finals semi-finalist Marcel Granollers to call upon.

It should be much the same story the following day when the RTF take on Ecuador. With four top 30 players to call upon, Russia could well rest their US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and world number seven Andrey Rublev in this first tie with recent Kremlin Cup champion Aslan Karatsev and former world number eight Karen Khachanov more than enough firepower to win their first tie before the doubles. If the deciding doubles match is by some shock required, Andrey Rublev and Khachanov are the most likely pairing after great success at the 2019 Davis Cup. Rublev won a Gold Medal in the Mixed Doubles at the Tokyo Olympic Games alongside Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in an all-Russian final against Karatsev and Elena Vesnina.

With 3-0 victories likely behind them by the time they face-off on Sunday, Spain versus the RTF is likely to be the must-watch tie of the group stages. RTF can boast the stronger options in terms of rankings, with world number two Daniil Medvedev likely to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in what could well be a close, spirited three-setter. However, Carlos Alcaraz backed by a partisan Madrid crowd would be a proper match for any one of Rublev, Khachanov and Karatsev, with world number five Rublev the likeliest opponent. It is hard not to back Alcaraz to come through that test egged on by adoring fans especially with Rublev coming from an overall unconvincing ATP Finals campaign.

Spain will be desperate to have this tie won before the doubles, where the RTF are spoiled for choice, but there is always the option to partner Marcel Granollers with one of PCB and Alcaraz and that uncertainty makes calling a Group A winner very difficult indeed. On the face of it, Spain are slightly underpowered at first option with the lack of Rafael Nadal and that could see Russia win the deciding tie 2-1 with Spain very likely to come through as one of the two highest-scoring runners-up.

GROUP B – Canada, Kazakhstan, Sweden - Madrid Arena, Madrid

Canada were the overwhelming favourites to come through relatively unscathed in Group B but the crushing news that both world number 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime and number 14 Denis Shapovalov have pulled out weakens them significantly. The ongoing injury issues with former world number three Milos Raonic mean Canada are without their three strongest players for the Davis Cup Finals, where they finished runner-up to Spain in 2019, and world number 133 Vasek Pospisil cannot take on the world alone. Brayden Schnur is bumped up to second option and both Steven Diez and Peter Polansky come in to a thin Canadian outfit.

Vasek Pospisil has always impressed on the international stage and the 30-year-old will likely play both doubles matches, with wins possible over Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and Mikael Ymer of Sweden. Canada face Sweden in the first Group B tie on Thursday and we will have a clearer picture of things after the first two singles matches, with a 1-1 the most reasonable outcome. It would be enjoyable to watch Mikael Ymer play alongside elder brother Elias if that is how Sweden opt to play their doubles matches, with Jonathan Mridha and Andre Goransson both outside the top 500 in the world and unlikely to play any “live” rubbers. Goransson has a double ranking of world number 64 and could well be partnered with either of the Ymer brothers too.

In any case, this looks a difficult group to pick a winner from with Kazakhstan’s Bublik the stand-out talent at world number 36 but also the most unpredictable man on the ATP tour. Bublik should win both of his singles games but could just as easily win neither against Pospisil and Mikael Ymer, who has impressed in parts of this season. Second option Mikhail Kukushkin is a vastly experienced international who may well be the man mopping things up if Bublik double faults himself to oblivion. Oddly, sudden underdogs Canada still look like the team likeliest to find a way through this maelstrom with Vasek Pospisil a spirited leader and far better than his current ranking.

GROUP C – France, Great Britain, Czech Republic - Olympia-Halle, Innsbruck

This is an interesting toss up between France and Great Britain, with the Czech Republic unlikely to make much of a dent in either side’s chances at qualification. There will be no fans present in Innsbruck due to the new covid-19 restrictions in Austria and that could become a factor in the key moments with team mentality vastly important. The Czech Republic boast an experienced man in world number 82 Jiri Vesely and an impressive youngster in Tomas Machac but they are likely to lose to either of Cam Norrie and Dan Evans, with France’s Arthur Rinderknech likely to come through in his rubbers to take the strain off veteran Richard Gasquet.

With the Czech Republic likely out of the equation, this should come down to the deciding tie betaeen Great Britain and France on Saturday. France and GB have two of the best doubles teams at the Davis Cup, with Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert the pick of the two after winning the ATP Finals just last weekend. However, Joe Salisbury is the highest-ranked individual of the four mentioned and he finished runner-up to Mahut and Herbert at the ATP Finals alongside Rajeev Ram. Salisbury won the San Diego Open earlier back in October alongside Neal Skupski but Skupski has also enjoyed excellent success on tour alongside Dan Evans, with two Masters finals reached earlier this season, and that could be a useful alternative if there is an injury.

In the singles, France are surprisingly lightweight. The loss of Ugo Humbert is significant and Jeremy Chardy would have enjoyed the indoor conditions in Innsbruck as a man who took well to playing with no crowds earlier this season. Great Britain’s Dan Evans is a renowned team player with some of his best tennis played internationally. The current world number 25 was exceptional at the inaugural ATP Cup last season, where he beat Alex de Minaur and David Goffin to haul an understrength GB into the quarter-finals. His impact off the court as a well-loved hype man will be just as important as his on-court contributions whilst world number 12 Cam Norrie will be eager to say goodbye to the best season of his life by a country mile as well as he can. The 26-year-old has a win-record bested only by the top four players in the world and Casper Ruud, with titles won in San Diego and a stunning first Masters at Indian Wells.

Arthur Rinderknech lost his first meeting with Norrie earlier this season and the Brit has improved significantly since. This tie looks likely to fall on Dan Evans versus Richard Gasquet, with the Frenchman owning a 2-0 record, and a potential doubles decider. Evans should be able to find his A game for the Davis Cup as a former winner from 2015 with Great Britain the likelier of two very capable winners.

GROUP D – Croatia, Australia, Hungary - Olympia-Halle, Innsbruck

Hungary have been hardy Davis Cup qualification opponents in recent seasons led by the ‘Iron Man of Tennis’ Marton Fucsovics. The world number 40 set a best Grand Slam campaign by reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this season and he recently took a set off Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters. However, strength in depth is the Hungarians’ biggest weakness with second option Attila Balazs losing both of his tour-level matches this season. Fucsovics will be combative and testing in his singles matches and it would not be a surprise to see him beat an out-of-sorts Alex de Minaur on Friday but the team as a whole are unlikely to help him out.

Australia are the second-most successful team in Davis Cup history but they come to Innsbruck with an understrength team compared to recent seasons. World number 34 De Minaur has endured an odd season with two titles hidden away in an average 24-24 win-record, whilst world number 72 John Millman will give anyone a game as second option but the 32-year-old does have a ceiling. Third option Alexei Popyrin could prove a useful trump card with a powerful serve game well-suited to an indoor hardcourt competition and he may well be utilised in the doubles alongside one of doubles pro John Peers, De Minaur or Millman.

Croatia own the world’s top-ranked Men’s Doubles team in Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, with the pair almost unstoppable in the first half of this season. Mektic and Pavic won nine titles this season, including three Masters titles, an Olympic Gold Medal and Wimbledon. In the singles, Croatia have the steady hands of a resurgent Marin Cilic and the surprising return of Borna Coric. Former world number three Cilic has won two ATP titles this season to bring his career total to 20 with excellent campaigns at the Stuttgart Open and St. Petersburg Open. Coric, on the other hand, last played on tour at the Rotterdam Open in March where he lost to the aforementioned Marton Fucsovics in the semi-finals. The 25-year-old is an undeniable talent, going as far as world number 12 back in 2018, but it remains to be seen how his return from surgery and a huge lay-off pans out at the Davis Cup finals.

Croatia should have enough here in Cilic and their superb doubles duo Mektic and Pavic to come through as Group D winners, with Coric an exciting surprise package to have at their disposal. Australia have a solid chance too and could well come through as one of the two highest-scoring runners-up.

GROUP E – USA, Italy, Colombia - Pala Alpitour Arena, Turin

Group E looks set to battle Group A (Spain, Russia, Ecuador) for the ‘most exciting’ accolade with a powerful, exuberant USA team looking to right the wrongs of recent disappointment and Italy’s eye-catching foursome eager to perform in front of home fans in Turin. Colombia should be the unfortunate whipping boys in the singles, with world number 111 Daniel Elahi Galan a talent on the clay but unlikely to have much impact on hardcourts we know to be fast from last weekend’s ATP Finals. Colombia’s former world number one doubles team of Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will likely be picking up the pieces in two dead rubbers by the time the doubles match comes around but it would not be a surprise to see them win both as two-time Grand Slam champions.

The USA are the most successful nation in Davis Cup history but they have lacked as cohesive-looking a team as this for some time, with US tennis looking to be on the rise again in the Men’s game. Veteran John Isner is a wealth of experience to have on a side with two young guns Reilly Opelka at first option and in-form Frances Tiafoe making up a fierce trio in the singles. The hardcourts in Turin, and Madrid if they reach the last eight, will suit big-servers Isner and Opelka to a tee whilst Tiafoe will be chomping at the bit to come in if required and an excellent hype man from the side.

Whilst they have not played together, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram could be an exceptional doubles pairing to call upon and the two would make excellent, experienced additions to any one of Isner, Opelka and Tiafoe. There are more questions than answers surrounding this USA team for now but it feels like one of their more balanced, promising teams in recent memory. They look to have the advantage in Group E with several decent answers if a doubles decider is required, with Italy needing to get their business done in the singles to stand their best chance at coming through.

World number 10 Jannik Sinner is currently the best singles player in Group E and his exploits at the ATP Finals last week as an alternative won him plenty more fans at home. The 20-year-old will fancy his chances against Reilly Opelka but if the American’s service is on point he will have to win the very few key moments available to him. 27-year-old Lorenzo Sonego is a passionate Turin native who played his best tennis this season in a semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Rome Masters. However, his recent form makes his matches with either of Isner or Tiafoe questionable with the courts on his home soil likely to count against him if he faces a big server – with any of the available Americans owning a powerful arm.

On the face of it, USA look the favourites to come through on the power of their collective serve and the greater balance of their team. Italy might struggle to come through as one of the top-scoring runners-up if they cannot get 3-0 against Cabal and Farah’s Colombia.

GROUP F – Serbia, Germany, Austria - Pala Alpitour Arena, Turin

Group F should be quite the procession for Serbia with world number one Novak Djokovic at the helm, particularly because both Germany and Austria are without their biggest names. Germany are missing the man who beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals last weekend in world number three Alexander Zverev, whilst Austria have known for some time that their 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem would not be able to compete at the Davis Cup Finals. This most likely leaves a seriously understrength Austria and a pretty blunted Germany to battle it out for second spot in Group F on Sunday with Serbia first playing Austria on Friday and Germany on Saturday.

Serbia have a dedicated, consummate professional in Filip Krajinovic as their second option who looks set to battle hard with Germany’s Dominik Koepfer on Saturday, and play a potential doubles decider alongside Djokovic if needed, but he should have little trouble dispatching Austria’s Jurij Rodionov in the first tie. However, with Novak Djokovic almost certain to beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff and Austria’s Dennis Novak – in the long-awaited ‘Battle of the Novaks’ – and the world number one able to airdrop into any doubles deciders in which he is required this group’s main point of interest comes in who takes second.

Germany’s Struff and Koepfer would probably prefer to play on the clay but both have impressed on hardcourts in recent weeks, with Struff reaching the semi-finals of the St. Petersburg Open and Koepfer beating Andy Murray and Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Paris Masters. They should be able to take Austria to 2-0 before two-time Grand Slam champion Kevin Krawietz can take the lead in a partnership with any of Struff, Koepfer, Peter Gojowczyk and Tim Puetz. Serbia’s dominance and Austria’s inferiority could actually end up helping Germany into the last eight as a surprise top-scoring runner-up.


As for the winner of the whole thing? It is significant that Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are a level above the next highest-ranked man at the Davis Cup Finals in Russia’s world number five Andrey Rublev. It is likely to be Novak Djokovic versus the world just as it was at the ATP Cup last season, where a showdown between Serbia and Spain saw Djokovic the victor over Rafael Nadal. Without Nadal to fight for them this time around, the Davis Cup reigning champions should still fare well but likely falter in the semi-finals if they come up against Djokovic’s Serbia or this season’s ATP Cup champions Russia. The USA must not be discounted as a Davis Cup heavyweight with genuine hope in its mixture of youth and experience and the likes of Italy, Great Britain and Croatia will take some stopping.

Overall, Russia look the most powerful with yet another Djokovic vs Medvedev showdown incoming and a potential doubles decider just favouring the team with two top 10 players – and four inside the top 30. ATP Cup champions Russia look the likeliest champions of the 2021 Davis Cup Finals.

TSZ Latest