World Group For Davis Cup 2011 – Part 1

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 06:  Spanish players Feliciano Lopez (L), David Ferrer,  Fernando Verdasco (C) Rafael Nadal (2R) and team captain Albert Costa celebrate with the Davis Cup trophy at the end of the final match between Spain and Czech Republic at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium on December 6, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The draw for next year’s Davis Cup is scheduled to take place in Brussels on the 22nd of September, 2010.

Sixteen nations play the World Group of the Davis Cup every year, eight seeded and the other eight unseeded.

The two finalists of the previous year’s edition help form the two halves of the draw.

A quick look at the eight top teams in the World Group for Davis Cup 2011.

Quote of the day:
Criticism is prejudice made plausible. – H. L. Mencken

Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia celebrates his victory over Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic after their Davis Cup world group semi-final tennis match in Belgrade September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

1. Serbia

Seeded No. 1 , Serbia will go into next year’s Davis Cup on the back of a stupendous fight-back against the Czech Republic in the semi-finals played in Belgrade. Their story in this year’s Cup has not yet ended.

2010 marks their first ever appearance in a Davis Cup final.

It was the two Serbian performers at the US Open, Djokovic and Tipsarevic who bailed out their country’s Davis Cup aspirations.

Djokovic declined to play singles on the first day and it was no surprise that his compatriot Troicki was found wanting in the first rubber.

But Tipsarevic led the counter-attack beating Tomas Berdych to level the scores 1-1.

The doubles were lost but it was a rested Djokovic ,seemingly rejuvenated after an injury timeout, who brought Serbia back into the reckoning; the man at the receiving end was the luckless Berdych again.

It then fell to Tipsarevic to KO Stefanek in the final rubber and Serbia are now historically poised to lift their first ever Davis Cup.

Man of The Match: Janko Tipsarevic

France's Michael Llodra (R) and Arnaud Clement (L) celebrate after winning their match. France defeats Argentina 3-0 during the Davis Cup Semi Final at the Palais des Sports of Gerland in Lyon, France on September 18, 2010. Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/Cameleon/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

2. France

France had no problems reaching their tenth Davis Cup final whitewashing a lacklustre Argentina.

On the first two days, it was the ever underrated Gael Monfils and the serve and volley magician Michael Llodra who led the charge of the French brigade.Juan Monaco and David Nalbandian fought bravely but could not stem the tide.

On the second day, the  Clement-who-knocked-out-Cypriot-Baghdatis at the US Open and Llodra paired up to button hole the Argentinean pair of Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos , winning in straight sets ,wrapping up the tie 3-0.

The formalities were completed on Sunday, with Clement and and Gilles Simon registering facile victories over Horacio Zeballos and Eduardo Schwank.

It was , as though, the Frenchmen’s outing at the US Open was but a curtain-raiser leading to this momentous occasion.

Man Of The Match: Michael Llodra

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 06:  Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the Davis Cup trophy at the end of the final match between Spain and Czech Republic at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium on December 6, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

3. Spain

Spain are currently ranked No. 1 and though beaten this year by France in the quarter-finals were winners in 2009.

Spain can call upon the services of Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Feliciano Lopez among the well-known lights.

Will they be able to repeat their 2009 glory?

It all depends on who’s available to play.

But they do miss that man, Rafael Nadal as this year’s drubbing at the hands of favourites France proved.

Man To Watch Out For: Rafael Nadal

Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych returns the ball to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their Davis Cup world group semi-final tennis match in Belgrade September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

4. Czech Republic

The Czechs may have succumbed to the Serbian falcons. But they still go into next year’s edition seeded fourth.

Their knights in shining armour are Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and Lukas Dlouhy(Indian fans will recognize him as Paes’ doubles partner).

They have reached the finals once before succumbing to the all-conquering Spanish conquistadors in 2009.

Man To Watch Out For: Tomas Berdych

Argentina's David Nalbandian looks dejected. He is defeated by France's Gael Monfils 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in their Davis Cup Semi Final match at the Palais des Sports of Gerland in Lyon, France on September 17, 2010. Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/Cameleon/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

5. Argentina

Argentina ,with the return of David Nalbandian , show glimpses of being a tennis power again.

They are a one man army.

Argentina have never cornered Davis Cup glory but have finished runners-up thrice.

It is Nalbandian, Nalbandian and half-a-Nalbandian.

Nalbandian ,however, was unable to repeat his Moscow magic against a strong French team in the semis.

Actually, I’m wrong. There’s Del Potro waiting in the wings. Funny how I overlooked that. But then out of sight = out of mind. Right?

Man To Watch Out For Still: David Nalbandian

U.S. Mardy Fish returns the ball to Colombia s Santiago Giraldo during their Davis Cup World Group playoff tennis match in Bogota September 19, 2010. REUTERS/John Vizcaino  (COLOMBIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

6. USA

The US Of A may not have had any Grand Slam singles winners since Andy Roddick’s 2003 US Open victory.

But to term them a tennis dinosaur is premature, to say the least.

The USA knocked out Colombia at Bogota to retain their pre-eminence in the Davis Cup.

The first day’s play ended locked 1-1 with Mardy Fish just about managing to keep his head over water in a five-setter against Alejandro Falla.

Sam Querrey had no such luck losing – in three quick sets totaling a sum of 95 minutes – to Santiago Giraldo.

Fish stepped up again on the second day, teaming up with John Isner to hand the USA a much needed 2-1 lead.

On the final day, it was Fish once more in another titanic five sets doing for Santiago Giraldo.

The USA were back in the Davis Cup driver seat. The altitude couldn’t kill the attitude!

Man Of The Match: Mardy Fish

ITAR-TASS: MOSCOW, RUSSIA. JULY 11, 2010. Russia's Mikhail Youzhny (in picture) returns a forehand to Argentina's David Nalbandian during their Davis Cup World Group quaterfinal tennis match at Olympiysky Arena. Youzhny lost 6-7, 4-6, 3-6. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Alexei Filippov) Photo via Newscom

7. Russia

Russia are seeded No. 7 . They were knocked out in this year’s quarter-final by Nalbandian’s Argentina.

They were also the team that beat India in the first round of this year’s edition.

They can count on Mikhail Youzhny and Nikolay Davydenko to serve them well.

With both Youzhny and Davydenko resurgent, Russia are going to prove to be a handful for any opponent.

Russia have won the title twice and had never lost at home since 1996 until this year. It is a record that they would wish to emulate.

Man To Watch Out For: Mikhail Youzhny

Mar. 06, 2010 - Varazdin, HRV, CROATIA - epa02067582 Marin Cilic of Croatia jubilates after he won together with Ivo Karlovic their Ecuador's opponents Nicolas and Giovanni Lapentti during their Davis Cup's double tennis match in Varazdin 06 March 2010. Croatia lead 3:0.

8. Croatia

Croatia brings up the rear among the seeds.

Serbia beat them 4-1 in Split , a historic meeting between the two former Yugoslavian entities.

The Croatians, however, have gone one better than the Serbs winning the title in 2005 as an un-seeded team.

They lean on their three leading stalwarts, Ivan Ljubicic,Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic, for further Davis Cup success.

There’s also Mario Ancic lurking on the sidelines, the last man to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon until Nadal upset his applecart.

Man To Watch Out For: Marin Cilic