Defending champ Croatia to face Spain in new Davis Cup

David Haggerty and Gerard Pique

David Haggerty and Gerard Pique

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 three teams in each group will play a round-robin in the opening round.

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. Djokovic said the competition would conflict with the ATP Cup, a newly created team competition.

The ITF said players will compete for prize money that will rival what is offered in Grand Slams. Six group winners and two most successful runner-up countries will book the place in the quarter-final (teams from the same group can't meet in the quarters) on Friday, followed by two semi-finals on Saturday and the Sunday's clash that would determine the new Davis Cup champions.

An increasing number of top players have skipped matches in recent years to ease their schedule.

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.

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The event will take place between 18-24 November with matches consisting of two singles and one doubles rubber.

The matches will be played on hard courts at the Magic Box complex, which already hosts the Madrid Masters.

The seeded teams entering the draw were France, Croatia, Argentina, Belgium, Britain and the United States. Last year's Davis Cup semifinalists - Croatia, France, Spain and the USA - were already given spots in the finals.

Canada booked a spot in the 2019 finals with a come-from-behind 3-2 win in Slovakia earlier this month. Britain and Argentina were given wild-card berths.

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