WHITE PLAINS, October 21, 2019 (Press Releases)
The USTA and United States Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish today announced that Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals November 18-24 in Madrid.
This year’s Finals – the first under the new, 18-team format featuring six groups of round-robin play followed by a knockout bracket – will be played on hard courts at La Caja Magica, the home of the Madrid Open. In Fish’s first ties as Captain, the U.S. will compete in Group F against Canada on Tuesday, November 19, and Italy, on Wednesday, November 20. Each tie features two singles and one doubles match, all best of three sets, played in one day. Captains have until one hour before the scheduled start of the tie to make their singles and doubles selections.
🇺🇸 TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT 🇺🇸
32 times #DavisCup champion team is ready
— Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals (@DavisCupFinals) October 21, 2019
Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil were selected to represent Canada. The U.S. is 15-0 all-time vs. Canada, but the two haven’t played since 1965.
“It will be difficult, seeing as all of the qualified teams for the Finals are strong. There are no weak opponents. In our group, the United States and Italy both have excellent players in singles and doubles. If we hope to go deep in this competition, we will have to be able to count on our best players and so I am very pleased that Félix, Denis, Milos and Vasek have all answered the call. We have come close to achieving our goal in the past by reaching the semi-finals; the next step will be to be crowned champions. I believe that we now have the players and the depth to accomplish this,” stated Canadian team captain Frank Dancevic after the draw.
Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Andreas Seppi and Simone Bolelli were selected to represent Italy. The U.S. is 7-3 all-time vs. Italy, the last tie being an Italian victory in the 1998 Semifinals.
The winner of each Group advances to the knockout Quarterfinal stage, as will the two second-best teams with the best records based on sets and games won. Performance at the Finals also has implications for the following year: The four semifinalists earn automatic entry into the 2020 Finals; The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the 2020 Qualifiers; The two teams with the worst records after the Group stage will be relegated to Zone Group play in 2020.
The U.S. team is a blend of Davis Cup youth and experience. Querrey is the most tenured Davis Cup player of the nominees, having played in 14 ties over eight years beginning in 2008, the year following the U.S.’s last Davis Cup title. Querrey, 32, featured in all three ties in 2018, going 3-0 in singles. Sock, 27, made his debut in 2015 and has played in six ties, in which the former world doubles No. 2 has gone 3-0 in doubles matches. Tiafoe, 21 and ranked No. 53, earns his second nomination, after debuting in last year’s Semifinals vs. Croatia.
Fritz and Opelka each earn their first U.S. Davis Cup nominations, becoming the 142nd and 143rd players to compete in Davis Cup for the U.S. Fritz, 21, has had a 2019 season in which he won his first ATP title at Eastbourne, over Querrey, and reached two additional ATP finals to make his Top 25 debut, becoming the youngest American in the Top 25 since Andy Roddick in 2004. Opelka, 22, also won his first ATP singles title this year, at the New York Open, and reached two additional ATP semifinals. Opelka, currently ranked a career-high No. 37, is second on tour to John Isner in aces this year, with 871.