The Davis Cup begins this weekend and it’s hard to say what kind of a weekend of tennis it will be.
Australia takes on France , in France with, let’s be honest a rookie team.
I can’t see Australia winning this tie but I don’t think the weekend is lost.
Actually, I think this weekend will be hugely beneficial to Australian Men’s tennis.
To begin with, our up and coming rising stars will get a taste of playing top ten players on opposition territory.
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis may be ranked 162 and 401, respectively, but these are two young players who will learn so much more from this experience than many of us can imagine.
They both played exceptionally well at the Aus Open, making the second round and they were both gallant in defeat.
Kyrgios will face world number 9, Richard Gasquet on the opening day in what will certainly be a demanding test.
The French, though have a powerhouse of a team. Alongside Gasquet, they’ve named Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, number 10, Gael Monfils, 30 and Julien Benneteau the world’s 39th ranked player.
The Aussie team is truly the other half of the age coin, with veterans Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione also playing.
Undoubtedly, the Aussies wil rely heavily on Hewitt in the singles and Guccione should be handy in doubles.
In other ties, the Canadians will go into their opening round against Japan in Tokyo without big serving gun, Milos Raonic. He has been forced to retire with an injury to his left ankle.
Raonic will be a big loss and the Japanese have Kei Nishikori, who I thought was in some great form in the Aus Open. The Japanese number 18 was very unlucky to not take a set off Nadal in their fourth round match.
Serbia will meet Switzerland at home without Novak Djokovic who is back in Serbia scraping ice off his car and visiting the stomping ground of his tennis childhood.
Janko Tipsarevic has just become a daddy and they are also missing Victor Troicki.
The Swiss have Stan and Roger. I suspect most bookies will have the Swiss at unbackable odds to take this one.
Let’s hope Stan’s good form continues for him.
Another team without one of its big guns is Argentina. Juan Martin del Potro has an injury to his left wrist and really, we shouldn’t be that surprised. After his early exit from the Aus Open he quickly made himself unavailable for the tie.
This tie, however, may be one of the more interesting, as Davis Cup involving Argentina is often full of drama.
Ok, so we won’t have David Nalbandian and the injured (again) Juan Martin del Potro trying to beat each other up in the locker room, but we will have Juan Monaco, the world number 40 and Carlos Berlocq, number 44 playing for the home crowd.
The Italians will have Fabio Fognini, number 15 and Andreas Seppi (31) in their team.
This could actually be one of the more interesting ties this weekend.
If you want to watch a warm up event to the figure skating at the Winter Olympics, then the USA and Great Britain tie may be quite entertaining.
Apparently the clay the Americans have come up with is quite slippery, which I take to mean, difficult to stand on.
The Americans have the Bryan Brothers, so even if Andy Murray wins his matches, the US should probably get through on the doubles rubbers.
Or, at least that’s the thinking.
The last tie I’m going to look at has become a strange one.
Spain travel to German soil for this encounter, without Rafa, Ferrer or Almagro. They do Feliciano Lopez, ranked 26 in the world, although ranked number 1 for dream boat eyes.
They’ve also Fernando Verdasco at number 33, and an inform Roberto Bautista Agut, ranked 52, who had a great Aus Open.
The Spanish also have David Marrero who is 8 in the doubles rankings.
The Germans have the ever young Tommy Haas the world’s number 12 as their top ranked player.
Phillip Kohlschreiber missed the Aus Open through injury. He currently sits at 27 on the rankings with team mate Florien Mayer at 29. Daniel Brands is at 68 on the rankings.
You know, I wouldn’t consider the Germans shoe ins for this.
This tie may certainly be worth following a little more closely than some of the others.
The final two ties should see the defending champs, the Czech Republic safely over the Netherlands and I suspect Belgium will not defeat Kazakhstan.
So, the first round of the Davis Cup could end up bit of a flop with the exception of a handful of ties, but nevertheless, I’m looking forward to following along.