Davis Cup 2023: Five storylines to look out for at the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage in Manchester
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The countdown is on and we’re just a few days away from the 2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stages at the AO Arena in Manchester.
The Lexus Great Britain Davis Cup team have been drawn a tough group as they gear up to take on Australia, France and Switzerland for a place in the Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga in November.
With so many exciting battles about to head your way, we delve into some of the top storylines that you ought to look out for in Manchester.
Draper eyes a debut for the Brits following Flushing Meadows success
Jack Draper has become the latest addition to Leon Smith’s Lexus Great Britain team, following his impressive run to the Round of 16 at the 2023 US Open. The last Grand Slam of the season marked only his third tournament since he was forced to retire at the French Open at the end of May.
His victories against Radu Albot, Hubert Hurkacz and Michael Mmoh saw Draper reach the fourth round of a major for the first time in his career, where he pushed eighth seed Andrey Rublev to four sets before bowing out. The big-serving lefty certainly left his mark on this year’s tournament in New York, and as a result of his standout performances, was rewarded with a well-deserved spot in Leon Smith’s British team.
Although selected for Great Britain’s qualifying tie against Colombia in February, Draper is still yet to make his Davis Cup debut and will be hoping to become the Colour Holder number 323 should he feature in any of the ties against Australia, France or Switzerland.
Can De Minaur spearhead the Aussies to victory?
Group B holds an abundance of talented players across the three nations, with Australia’s Alex De Minaur entering battle in Manchester as the group’s highest-ranked player.
The world No.13 has embarked on a standout season so far, having picked up the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, reaching two ATP Masters 1000 finals, finishing runner-up at the cinch Championshipsand defeating some of the world’s best players including Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune and Taylor Fritz.
A potential clash between two players that know each other well - De Minaur and Cam Norrie could be one of the match-ups of the week should they face each other. Having frequently played doubles together, the pair have formed a strong bond on and off the court, and even share a similar game style. The British No.1 defeated the Aussie back in January at the United Cup – a mixed team competition in Australia – but it’s De Minaur who came out on top in their most recent encounter at the Western and Southern Open.
The 24-year-old boasts an impressive 11-5 record at the Davis Cup and was a major driving force behind Australia’s extraordinary run to the final at last year’s tournament – can he guide Australia to the Finals in November and be in with the chance of going all the way this year?
Current doubles world No.1 vs. former world No.1
Great Britain’s tie against France could be set to serve a mouthwatering match-up between doubles specialists Neal Skupski and former world No.1 Nicolas Mahut.
While it’s unconfirmed which players will feature in the doubles rubbers, France’s squad consists of two world-class doubles players in five-time Grand Slam champion Mahut and Davis Cup debutant Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who will undoubtedly look to cause an upset against the home favourites.
Since making his Davis Cup debut for Great Britain in 2019, the 2023 Wimbledon men’s doubles champion has gone on to compete in eight ties for his country – where he’s won five ties. With Skupski’s wealth of doubles experience and sublime form entering the Group Stages, he’s guaranteed to be a vital asset in the Lexus Great Britain team.
Stan the man to lead Switzerland to a second Davis Cup title?
One of the Davis Cup’s most experienced, active players, Stan Wawrinka, will lead the Switzerland team out on their return to the Finals Group Stages for the first time since 2018.
Wawrinka – who has competed in 25 ties for his country – was a part of the Swiss team that overcame France in 2014, as he and Roger Federer handed Switzerland a historic first Davis Cup title.
Now heading into the Group Stages in Manchester as the world No.49, Wawrinka will be gunning to roll back the years and secure Switzerland a long-awaited spot in the final eight.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has had some personal successes of his own this year, clocking wins against the likes of Rune, Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe and could be another one to rock the boat next week.
The home crowd providing the British boost
As you know by now, this year’s Davis Cup Finals Group Stages will be heading to Manchester for five days of gripping tennis action, featuring some of the world’s best players in the men’s game.
With Manchester being the fifth different UK city to host the Davis Cup in Britain over the last 10 years, anticipation is building amongst spectators as they prepare to cheer on the Brits to victory on home soil.
Sunday’s tie between Great Britain and Switzerland is a sold out event, and will be the biggest single day attendance for a Davis Cup tie in Britain since 1995 – with more than 13,000 spectators set to attend.
Want to see the action live in Manchester? It’s not too late to buy your tickets.