We’ve been waiting for Milos Raonic’s big breakthrough. It hasn’t come in Grand Slam play, yet, but early next year he’ll have his chance to emerge on the Davis Cup stage. That’s because his Canadian team will host the mighty Spaniards in first round play the weekend after the Australian Open. With Rafael Nadal questionable, on an indoor fast court Raonic should be able to hold his own against Spain’s second tier. And if Daniel Nestor can steal a doubles point, then who knows.
Other interesting matchups from the draw released earlier today include a trip to Switzerland for the 2012 finalist Czech Republic team. Will Roger Federer play or won’t he? He played this past weekend sending Switzerland back into the World Group main draw but with the timing of the first round so close after the Australian Open it’s too far out to know if the he’ll make himself available again. And what surface will Switzerland chose, clay again?
Team USA will host Brazil in very favorable matchup for the Americans. Italy hosting the Croats appears to be another good tie with workhorse Marin Cilic against the likes of Fognini, Seppi, etc, on the red clay.
In the quarterfinals, it looks like Spain will go to Italy, Serbia and Novak Djokovic to the US. In the bottom half France will be on that long, treacherous road to Argentina and if Federer plays in February, I think Switzerland will then host Austria in April.
Looking further ahead, I think it’s Spain at Serbia in the semifinals and then Argentina hosting Switzerland. A lot depends on Federer and I don’t think he’ll commit to both early season Davis Cup ties. And how much Novak plays will determine Serbia’s chances – imagine a healthy Djokovic and Nadal squaring off in Belgrade next September!
In the end, it looks like Spain goes down to Argentina to win yet another Cup. Ho hum. Spain just has so much depth as we saw this past weekend and with the Argentines almost always a question mark with the fragile health of its stars Juan Martin Del Potro and David Nalbandian, it’s hard not to pick Spain, regardless of surface or site. But Mr. Raonic will have first crack to prove me wrong.
As for Federer, he’s won just about everything except the Davis Cup, which rivals Nadal and Djokovic both have. Can he finally win it in 2013? Is there a “run” to be had in the draw for Roger? Maybe, maybe not.
Even though they host the Czechs, I think it’s a manageable first two rounds for the Swiss. So Roger could get his team to the semifinals, but then the going gets really rough. Travelling all the way to Argentina right after the US Open to play Del Potro, Monaco and Nalbandian is no day at the beach for a then 32-year-old who’ll have to play all three rubbers on red clay. And if they manage the upset in the quarterfinals, France, because of their depth, will prove just as great a hurdle.
However both are winnable if Federer/Wawrinka are healthy, motivated and play like they can.
Then in the final Team Federer would host Spain, if it came to be. Federer v. Nadal for the Davis Cup title? Unlikely, but… Obviously there are a lot of variables here, especially the play of Wawrinka who isn’t getting any younger either, but for Federer this is probably his last chance at Davis Cup glory.
2013 Davis Cup Draw
Canada [c] v Spain [s]
Italy [c] v Croatia [s]
Belgium [c] v Serbia [s]
USA [s] [c] v Brazil
France [s] [c] v Israel
Argentina [s] [c] v Germany
Kazakhstan [s] [c] [*] v Austria
Switzerland [c] v Czech Republic [s]
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