Instead of a regular Davis Cup World Group first round ties, all but six (four semi-finalists from this season and two teams with a wild card, Argentina and Great Britain) best teams in the world will have to play the new format of the renovated Davis Cup between February 1-2 2019.
In a so-called Qualifiers round, 24 countries will battle for the 12 places at the Davis Cup Finals in November to join six teams we have already mentioned in order to determine the first champion of this new form of the prestigious competition. The draw has not been completed as we wait for the October ties between South Africa and Portugal and Slovakia versus Belarus but we already know 10 ties that will take place just five days after the Australian Open final.
Brazil will host the top seed and last year's finalist Belgium in what will be their first clash on Brazilian soil. Uzbekistan will have a chance to host the 2nd seed Serbia and this is actually a good draw for the home squad if Novak Djokovic decides to skip it after his Australian Open campaign.
Australia plays at home against Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time while the 4th seeded Italy has to travel to India. Germany hosts Hungary while Russia travels to Switzerland with high hopes of reaching the Finals, as Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer are almost certain to miss the Davis Cup in 2019.
Kazakhstan awaits for the winner of one of those October ties in the Europe/Africa Zone while the Czech Republic has to play against the Netherlands for the eighth time. Sweden will travel to Colombia while Austria hosts Chile, standing as the favorites if Dominic Thiem decides to play.
Canada will play an away tie against the remaining team from the Europe/Africa Play-off and we should see another interesting tie between China and Japan, with the traveling team winning eight of the previous nine encounters.
“Today’s draw marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Davis Cup’s long and distinguished history, mixing tradition and innovation," said ITF President David Haggerty on Wednesday. "I have no doubt that February’s Qualifiers will stimulate the passion in fans and players that has always been a feature of Davis Cup, and that this will carry through to the finals where we will witness a magnificent world-class sporting spectacle.2019 Davis Cup Qualifiers Draw:
I would like to wish all nations competing in the Qualifiers the best of luck.”