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Davis Cup: All you need to know

Often referred to as the 'World Cup of Tennis', the Davis Cup remains the premier international team event in the men's game, having recently undergone major changes.

It initially started in 1900 as a contest solely between Great Britain and the United States, but this year's finals will feature 18 nations.

The matches take place on indoor hard courts and are a best-of-three sets format and this year's event is the 109th edition of the Davis Cup.

Where will the Davis Cup be played?

This year's Davis Cup is unique with the finals set to take place across three different countries for the first time ever.

Matches will be played at the Madrid Arena in Spain, Innsbruck's OlympiaWorld venue in Austria and Turin's Pala Alpitour, which recently hosted the ATP Tour Finals, in Italy.

Each of the aforementioned venues will host the matches for two of the groups as well as at least one quarter-final encounter and the remaining teams will then play the final stages of the competition solely in Madrid.

When is the Davis Cup taking place?

With the qualifiers having taken place earlier in the year, the finals of the Davis Cup start on Thursday 25th November with the first matches taking place at 3pm BST.

The round-robin stage will finish on 28th November with the quarter-finals set to start the following day and the semi-finals will take place on Friday 3rd December and Saturday 4th December.

The tournament will run through to Sunday 5th December, when the final will take place.

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What is the format for the Davis Cup 2021?

The 18 Davis Cup finalists are made up of 12 winners from the qualifying round which took place back in March 2020 as well as the four semi-finalists from the previous edition of the tournament and two wildcard entries.

These teams are divided up into six groups of three teams and play one another in a round robin format.

Each encounter between nations will be composed of two singles and one doubles rubber and after all group matches have been played, the teams in each group with the most points will progress along with the two best-performing runners-up.

From this point on, the teams play against each other in a straightforward knockout with quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.

The groups for this year's tournament are as follows:
Group A - Spain, Russia Davis Cup Team, Ecuador
Group B - Canada, Kazakhstan, Sweden
Group C - France, Great Britain, Czech Republic
Group D - Croatia, Australia, Hungary
Group E - USA, Italy, Colombia
Group F - Serbia, Germany, Austria

France and Serbia are this year's two wildcard entries.

How do the seedings work?

The seedings for this year's finals are based on the Davis Cup ranking of March. Reigning champions Spain are top seeds with 2019 runners-up Canada second seeds. The next four seeds are the four nations who were next highest in the rankings as of March - France, Croatia, USA and Serbia.

Where can I watch the Davis Cup?

The Davis Cup is available to watch on Eurosport.

Who won the last Davis Cup?

The last winners of the Davis Cup were Spain back in 2019. Their team featured the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut and Feliciano Lopez and they were hosts of the tournament, defeating Canada 2-0 in the final at the Estadio Manolo Santana. Great Britain and Russia were the other semi-finalists.

While the United States hold the most titles overall with 32, Spain have been the most successful team in the modern era with six titles since the year 2000.

Britain last won the competition back in 2015 with brothers Andy and Jamie Murray among the players in their ranks.

Which players are competing in this year's Davis Cup?

Britain appear to be in a good position to challenge for their first Davis Cup title in six years with some in-form players in their squad.

Cameron Norrie, who was recently involved in the ATP Finals, has enjoyed arguably his best season yet in 2021 and is joined by world number 25 Dan Evans, Liam Broady and doubles talents Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski.

Norrie was his first ATP title this year and was one of only a few players to defeat Novak Djokovic.

World number one Djokovic, who won the French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, naturally leads the charge for Serbia along with Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic among others.

Djokovic's 2021 nemesis Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, is joined by the likes of Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in the Russia team.

Spain will have to make do without Nadal this time around, but Bautista Agut and Lopez are available, along with Pablo Carreno Busta, who was also involved in that 2019 success.

John Isner, Reilly Opelka and Jack Sock are part of the USA team with Australia's Alex de Minaur, Italy's Jannik Sinner and Croatia's Marin Cilic other players to keep an eye on.

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