So the Davis Cup World Group 2003 is complete and includes France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, the USA, Romania, Belgium, Russia, Great Britain, Sweden, Croatia, Germany, Argentina and Australia...(I hope I'm not missing anyone
Davis Cup ties have been known for not respecting a particular player rankings or fame, and the country where the ties are held, and consequently the surface the game is played on, are huge compensating factors, sometimes, or even most of the times, deciding the fate of ties that on paper should have been tighter...
Argentina, Spain, Romania and Brazil
, are formidable opponents on clay, and could do some damage on hardcourts as well, but have a huge weakness on grass (Nalbandian notwthstanding
) , and a tie away from home on faster courts could reveal to be too tough to handle...
The same problem could be encountered by the US, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and to a lesser extend, Croatia
, as these countries favour more fast courts and dread a slow clay court...I don't see Blake or Roddick being favoured in Buenos Aires for example, and in the Croatian case, much of the results will depend on how healthy Ivanisevic will be at the time...
France, Russia and to a lesser extend Germany
, are teams that could perform well on any court, and with luck and the right draw and surface choices could go deeper in the draw. Much of the German results will depend on how healthy and commited Haas and Kiefer will be for Davis Cup. But if any of these countries draws Great Britain (with Henman and
Rusedski) in Wimbledon, or Spain on clay, for example, they could be out soon and fast.
Australia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Switzerland
, are more peculiar teams in a sense that they both have an outstanding player who could perform well at any place, but a weaker second player that could be their Acchiles's heel. The Aussies have a slight advantage, as Wayne Arthurs is a more fearsome player on grass or hardcourts than Kratochvil, Uihlrach or O. Rochus could be at any other surface.
In the end, it's a wide open Davis Cup once again, one where the luck of the draw and the place and venues will be even more important than rankings themselves...