The first round of the 2016 Davis Cup gets underway Friday across the globe. Among the many stars in action include Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Djokovic joins his Serbian team as they welcome Kazakhstan. The last time Djokovic played he retired with an eye infection which he says is in the past.
“I am fit to play and I am glad to be able to say it because I was a bit skeptical the first few days after arriving from Dubai,” Djokovic said.
“This eye infection occurred to me for the first time in my life. The training went very well and hopefully I will be able to play at my best on Friday.”
Murray will play his first match since the Australian Open final and the birth of his daughter. He and Team GB begin their title defense at home against Kei Nishikori and Japan.
“I think one of the reasons I’m here this year is because I really want to try and do it again, after experiencing it last year,” said Murray. “I never thought we would be able to do it but then when we did it was like ‘why not, why can’t we do it again?’
“I thought the ties last year were unbelievable. I enjoyed every one of them, the atmosphere was great. It was tough at times physically and mentally at the times of year that the ties were coming but I think everyone on the team loved that whole experience of winning and I think we would all love to try to do it again.
“But the best way to do that is not thinking that far ahead. We could lose this tie, it’s a really tough match to win, they have a really good team. We need to just concentrate on this one. With the help of the crowd, everyone in this team I think has always performed really well in Davis Cup. If everyone does that we can get through this one and who knows what will happen?”
Should Serbia and Great Britain win, they will collide in the quarterfinals over the summer.
Elsewhere, Australia will be without Nick Kyrgios when they play host to USA. And Yannick Noah makes his coaching debut as his French team takes on Canada who will be without Milos Raonic in Guadeloupe.
Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic will also in in Davis Cup action this weekend.
WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND
GREAT BRITAIN v JAPAN
Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, GBR (hard – indoor)
Defending champion Great Britain opens its title defence in Birmingham when it takes on Japan in the first clash between the 2 nations since 1931. The host nation is looking to avoid becoming the 10th defending champion to lose in the first round since the Challenge Round was abolished in 1972. Should it record its 150th Davis Cup tie win and deny Japan a 2nd appearance in the World Group quarterfinals, Great Britain would progress to the last 8 for a 3rd consecutive year.
Andy Murray (GBR) v Taro Daniel (JPN)
Daniel Evans (GBR) v Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Dominic Inglot/Jamie Murray (GBR) v Yoshihito Nishioka/Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN)
Andy Murray (GBR) v Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Daniel Evans (GBR) v Taro Daniel (JPN)
SERBIA v KAZAKHSTAN
Venue: Pionir Hall, Belgrade, SRB (hard – indoor)
Serbia will look to reach the quarterfinals for the 6th time in 7 years when it goes up against Kazakhstan for the first time on home soil in Belgrade. While the 2010 champions have more experience in the competition than the Kazakhs, they will need to break Kazakhstan’s consistent run in the competition that has seen it progress to the last 8 for each of the last three years.
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Novak Djokovic/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) v Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
ITALY v SWITZERLAND
Venue: Adriatic Arena, Pesaro, ITA (clay – indoor)
First round losers last year, Italy and Switzerland will both be looking to bounce back with a World Group win when they go head-to-head for the 7th time in Pesaro. Italy has not defeated the 2014 champion since 1980, but Corrado Barazzutti’s team will be in confident mood for this tie given that they have won their last 5 ties on home soil. Switzerland, incidentally, was the last nation to defeat Italy on its own turf – in 2009.
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) v Henri Laaksonen (SUI)
Simone Bolelli/Marco Cecchinato (ITA) v Marco Chiudinelli/Henri Laaksonen (SUI)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) v Marco Chiudinelli (SUI)
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) v Henri Laaksonen (SUI)
POLAND v ARGENTINA
Venue: Ergo Arena, Gdansk, POL (hard – indoor)
World Group debutant Poland will be hoping to spring an upset when the nation plays host to four-time runner-up Argentina in Gdansk. The Poles are looking to become the first nation to reach the quarterfinals on their World Group debut since Kazakhstan in 2011. The benefit of home advantage may help Poland’s cause – this is its 11th home appearance in its last 12 Davis Cup ties.
Michal Przysiezny (POL) v Guido Pella (ARG)
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Lukasz Kubot/Marcin Matkowski (POL) v Carlos Berlocq/Renzo Olivo (ARG)
Michal Przysiezny (POL) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) v Guido Pella (ARG)
FRANCE v CANADA
Venue: Vélodrome Amédée Detraux, Guadeloupe, FRA (clay – outdoor)
France is looking to maintain its undefeated record against Canada when the 2 nations meet for a 3rd time in Davis Cup, this time in the scenic setting of Guadeloupe. France has lost in the first round just once in the last 14 years, while the relatively inexperienced Canada has lost at this stage in 5 of the last 7 years and is seeking just its 4th World Group win.
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
Gilles Simon (FRA) v Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Richard Gasquet/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Philip Bester/Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Gael Monfils (FRA) v Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Gilles Simon (FRA) v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
GERMANY v CZECH REPUBLIC
Venue: TUI Arena, Hannover, GER (hard – indoor)
Germany welcomes Czech Republic to Hannover in the 15th meeting between these 2 nations, but their first since 2005. The Czechs have not defeated Germany since 1982, nor have they managed to defeat this weekend’s hosts on German soil since 1974. Even so, Czech Republic should still be considered a strong favourite for the tie, having won 12 of its last 14 ties in this competition.
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Lukas Rosol (CZE)
Alexander Zverev (GER) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Dustin Brown/Philipp Petzschner (GER) v Radek Stepanek/Jiri Vesely (CZE)
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Alexander Zverev (GER) v Lukas Rosol (CZE)
AUSTRALIA v USA
Venue: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, Kooyong, AUS (grass – outdoor)
The Davis Cup’s 2 most decorated nations, Australia and USA, go head-to-head in Melbourne this weekend in their 46th meeting – but first in 17 years. The host nation is looking to reach the World Group quarterfinals in back-to-back years for the first time since 2005-06, while USA is seeking a place in its first quarterfinal in 3 years. USA has not defeated Australia on its own turf since 1982.
Samuel Groth (AUS) v John Isner (USA)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v Jack Sock (USA)
Samuel Groth/John Peers (AUS) v Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v John Isner (USA)
Samuel Groth (AUS) v Jack Sock (USA)
BELGIUM v CROATIA
Venue: Country Hall du Sart-Tilman, Liège, BEL (clay – indoor)
Last year’s runner-up Belgium will bid for a spot in the World Group quarterfinals in back-to-back years for the first time since 1998-99 when it takes on Croatia in Liege. The Belgians are playing host to a Davis Cup tie for the 5th time in a row while Croatia, getting used to being on the road, is playing away for the 9th time in its last 10 Davis Cup encounters. A win for Croatia this weekend would see it reach its first quarterfinal since 2012.
Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) v Marin Cilic (CRO)
David Goffin (BEL) v Borna Coric (CRO)
Ruben Bemelmans/Arthur De Greef (BEL) v Ivan Dodig/Franko Skugor (CRO)
David Goffin (BEL) v Marin Cilic (CRO)
Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) v Borna Coric (CRO)
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