On November 25th, the 2021 Davis Cup tournament will kick off across three different venues in Europe. Canada’s team will be starting the tournament in Group B which plays in Madrid, Spain, and will be facing off against teams from Sweden and Kazakhstan. The Davis Cup is the premier tennis tournament for international competition, and similar to the Olympics, players are divided into teams according to their home country. The other venues for the 2021 Davis Cup include Innsbruck, Austria, and Turin, Italy.
This year marks the 109th annual Davis Cup tournament, although due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the first year where we saw qualifying occur at different venues around the world. The finals that begin on November 25th are actually the postponed finals from the 2020 Davis Cup. In the end, eighteen nations that have qualified for the Davis Cup finals will play across the three designated venues.
Canada is coming off a second place finish at the 2019 Davis Cup, where they lost in the finals to Rafael Nadal and the contingent from Spain. Nadal was named the Most Valuable Player in the tournament having won all eight of the matches he played in. For Canada, it was the first time the country had ever reached the Davis Cup finals, as Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil and Toronto’s Denis Shapovalov led the way. Canada’s tennis scene has definitely been on the rise as of late, with 21-year old Felix Auger-Aliassime coming into his own as well over the past year.
Unfortunately for Canada, Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov recently announced that they will be forced to withdraw from the tournament due to nagging injuries. Auger-Aliassime has apparently been nursing this injury for some time now, and doctors have advised the youngster to rest or potentially risk further damage. Shapovalov has also been told by his doctors to rest for the last part of the year.
Auger-Aliassime has been dominant this year and is currently ranked eleventh in the world after debuting in the top ten earlier this year. While the youngster has suffered some disappointing upset defeats this season, he has also thrived in the Grand Slam tournaments which is one of the main reasons for his meteoric rise up the ATP standings. Here is how Auger-Aliassime has fared thus far this season:
- Loss to Aslan Karatsev (18) in the fourth round at the Australian Open
- Loss to Andreas Seppi (102) in the first round at the French Open
- Defeated childhood idol Roger Federer (16) in the second round before losing in the semifinals at the Halle Open
- Reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon after defeating Alexander Zverev (3) before losing to eventual finalist Matteo Berrettini (7)
- Loss in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to Max Purcell (176)
- Loss in the third round of the Citi Open to Jenson Brooksby (56)
- Loss in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Daniil Medvedev (2)
- Loss in the semifinals of the Stockholm Open to fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov (14)
Some clear ups and downs for the young Montreal-native, but the high points clearly have Auger-Aliassime on track for a special career. Tennis is a difficult sport for any player to reach the highest plateau, but Felix has clearly made some impressive strides over the past year. especially at such a young age.
Canada enters the tournament as one of the odds on favorites to take home the prize, although the absences of Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov have knocked the team down slightly in terms of betting odds. Losing the eleventh and fourteenth ranked players in the world is no easy task to overcome. Taking their place will be Toronto-native Steven Diez who is currently ranked 264th in the ATP standings. Diez is a veteran and will be making his second appearance representing Canada at the Davis Cup, but it will be his first appearance since 2010.
In terms of betting odds, the 2021 Davis Cup Finals will be an interesting tournament to handicap for sportsbooks. Both finalists from 2019 are missing key players including reigning MVP Rafael Nadal who has shut down his season due to a lingering foot injury. Joining Nadal on the injury list as non-participants are Andy Murray of the UK, Mario Berrettini of Italy, and Dominic Thiem of Austria. Star players that have been confirmed as playing include world number one Novak Djokavic and world number two Daniil Medvedev.
This makes the 2021 Davis Cup as wide open of a field as we have seen in recent memory. With the star-power and name recognition that Djokavic brings, don’t be surprised to see Serbia near the top of the oddsboard. Medvedev and the Russian Tennis Federation contingent should be able to give any team a run for its money this year. Not only does it feature Medvedev, but also world number five Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev, and Karen Khachanov who are ranked eighteenth and twenty-ninth in the world respectively.
As for other contenders, France, the United States, and Belgium, all return strong teams to this year’s Davis Cup Finals. Although the field is wide open, these should be considered some of the teams with the best odds to win it all. Keep up to date with the odds ahead of the start of the finals on November 25th and look for a full list of tennis picks and predictions at William Hill. The Davis Cup finals are always one of the most popular Tennis tournaments to bet on alongside the major Grand Slam tournaments of the season.
Who is your pick for the Davis Cup Finals this year? Will we see another Cinderella run from a team as we saw with Canada in 2019? Or will we see defending champions Spain repeat as champions without Nadal on their roster? Whatever the case may be, Canadian tennis fans will look ahead to 2022 to see the return of their young superstars, with prospects of many successful Davis Cup tournaments in the future.