Canada avoids world's top players in opening round of Davis Cup

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

The six group winners plus the two second-placed teams with the best records based on percentage of sets won will qualify for the quarter-finals for the event which gets under way from November 18-24.

Rafael Nadal's Spain will host defending champions Croatia in the Davis Cup finals with the 17-time major victor set to be the only member of the sport's big four taking part in the controversially rebooted tournament.

The group formation took place according to the latest Davis Cup rankings list and there were three pots with six teams, including France, Croatia, Argentina, Belgium, Great Britain and the US as group leaders. Argentina, Germany (without Alexander Zverev) and Chile form Group C, followed by another wide open one, with Belgium, Australia and Colombia fighting in Group D.

The top singles player in Canada's group is No. 9 John Isner of the U.S. Canada's Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., follows at No. 14 and Italy's Fabio Fognini is No. 15. Canada played without Raonic, getting two singles wins from Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and one from Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal to secure its berth.

Group B is without any question the group of death, containing the defending champions Croatia, Spain and Russian Federation who has two youngsters capable of beating anyone on an indoor court.

The draw was conducted in the Spanish capital on Thursday with 18 nations put into six groups for the controversial new tournament, which counts Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt among its biggest critics.

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Pique said Nadal has already committed to the new tournament, but it remains unclear which other top players will participate.

However, long-time rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be missing.

Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual global team competition in world sport.

"It's innovation and it's also keeping tradition", ITF president David Haggerty said.

The teams will play within their groups Monday-Thursday, with the knockout rounds Friday-Sunday. The matches will take place in three stadiums in morning and afternoon sessions.

The ATP World Tour Finals champion played in last weekend's qualifying round win against Hungary but has long insisted he has no interest in playing in the November finals, claiming he prefers to rest. Britain and Argentina were given wild-card berths.

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