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The Davis Cup World Group gets under way on Friday 6 March and this year’s tournament looks up for grabs because one expects the holder, Switzerland, to put up a weak defence.
Roger Federer has said that he will skip the Davis Cup as, after dedicating himself to the event last year, he thinks that he can do whatever he pleases this year. Switzerland’s other world-class player, Stan Wawrinka, has not been named to line up versus Belgium in Liege so the odds are that the Davis Cup champion will not get past the first round.
It is a shame that many of the world’s best players do not treat the Davis Cup with respect, not least because it makes betting on the winner of the event something of a guessing game. But one has gone through the Davis Cup World Group draw with a fine-tooth comb and reached the conclusion that Canada is the value bet at odds of 8/1 9.00 +800 8.00 8.00 -0.13 with Boylesports.
Canada has not won the Davis Cup since making its debut in 1913 and it has spent just six years in the World Group but there are grounds for backing the Canadians to go two steps further than their semi-final loss two years ago when they lost 2-3 to Serbia on an indoor clay court in Belgrade.
First up for Canada in the Davis Cup World Group is a home tie versus Japan. Canada lost 1-4 to Japan on an indoor hard court in Tokyo 12 months ago but neither Vasek Pospisil nor Milos Raonic represented the Canadians and their next best player, Frank Dancevic, retired early in the second set of his rubber against Kei Nishikori. One thinks last year’s Davis Cup World Group result is meaningless in the context of this year’s clash between Canada and Japan, which will take place on an indoor hard court in Vancouver that the Canadians are sure to set up as a lightning fast surface.
For Japan to eliminate Canada from the Davis Cup World Group for the second year in a row it is likely to need Nishikori to beat both Pospisil and Raonic and the away team’s doubles pairing cause an upset in the tie’s third rubber. No Japan squad member has a doubles ranking below 246, whereas Canada has two men – Daniel Nestor and Pospisil – in the top 15.
If Canada reaches the Davis Cup World Group last eight then it will meet either Belgium or Switzerland. One thinks that Belgium will eliminate Switzerland and, if that happens and Canada ousts Japan, Davis Cup officials would draw a lot to determine the host. Irrespective of venue, a full-strength Canada would start favourite against a Belgium team that boasts just one world-class player, David Goffin, and his singles ranking of 21 is well below that of Raonic (six).
On paper, Serbia is the biggest threat to Canada in the bottom half of the Davis Cup World Group draw but, even if the Serbians qualify for the semi-finals, are they going to have a fully fit Novak Djokovic suiting up for them? The Davis Cup World Group semi-finals are programmed for the week after the US Open, a tournament for which Djokovic is the ante-post favourite. If Canada met Serbia in the Davis Cup World Group then the Canadians would be the home team.
France is the most likely side to emerge from the top half of the Davis Cup World Group draw and a France-Canada final would take place in the European country. But France’s odds in the Davis Cup betting market reflect that and, besides, it could come a cropper along the way given that it faces several road trips, starting with a visit to Germany. And while France has considerable depth – it has seven top-40 players – it does not have a man ranked in the top 10.
Canada to win the Davis Cup
Starts 6th March
Odds: 8/1 9.00 +800 8.00 8.00 -0.13
Where to Bet: Boylesports