After many turmoils, the Davis Cup underwent significant changes for the 2019 edition, with just two rounds on the top-tier level and shortened format that includes best-of-three matches and two-day action instead of standard Friday-Sunday schedule.
The very first edition of Davis Cup Qualifiers took place during the first weekend of February and it saw 24 countries fighting for 12 spots at Davis Cup Finals that will take place in Madrid at Caja Magica between November 18-24.
With no best-of-five matches drama and an abandoned Sunday, it certainly didn't feel like a regular Davis Cup weekend we had for years before but the show must go on for both the players and the fans who are not particularly happy about these radical changes implemented by ITF.
Belgium, Serbia, Italy, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, Chile and Japan scored away wins to secure Madrid berth, joined by Australia, Germany, Kazakhstan and Colombia who celebrated at home to complete the line-up for Davis Cup Finals draw held in Madrid on Thursday afternoon.
Instead of 16 teams and four groups with four countries, the organizers went for a strange 18-squad draw that includes 12 Davis Cup Qualifiers winners, four semi-finalists from 2018 and two wild cards given to Argentina and Great Britain.
They created six groups with three countries that will compete in the round robin format from Monday to Thursday, with two singles and one doubles match in the best-of-three format. 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.
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 USA as group leaders. In Group A, France will battle Serbia in the repeat of 2010 final and Japan will try to perform a miracle and finish ahead of bi favorites.
Group B is without any question the group of death, containing the defending champions Croatia, Spain and Russia who has two youngsters capable of beating anyone on an indoor court. 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.
Great Britain, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands are in the weakest Group E, leaving Italy, the USA and Canada to seek the quarter-final berth from Group F.