Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

David Haggerty and Gerard Pique

Great Britain will play Kazakhstan and the Netherlands at the Davis Cup finals in Madrid in November.

The International Tennis Federation's new format for the competition divides 18 teams into six pools.

The six group winners plus the two second-placed teams with the best records based on percentage of sets won will qualify for the quarter-finals for the event which gets under way from November 18-24.

Cape Town - The total eclipse of South Africa in last week's Euro-Africa Group Two Fed Cup tournament in Luxembourg has left the country with relegation blues from both the most recent men's and women's premier global team events following on a similar fate in last year's Davis Cup.

Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current top eight singles players in the world in the opening round of the inaugural Davis Cup finals.

Partners Kosmos, a Spanish investment group founded by Barcelona and Spain footballer Gerard Pique, will invest $3 billion into the Davis Cup over 25 years.

Lionel Messi, Barcelona playmaker, has joined teammate Gerard Pique's plans to manage the Davis Cup which is one of tennis oldest competitions.

In addition to Federer, 32-year-old Pique has also faced criticism from Australia's Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt.

Competing in the Euro-Africa Group Two Fed Cup section in Luxembourg, South Africa suffered 2-1 defeats against both the home nation and Israel, before going down 2-0 against a dominant Portuguese outfit - resulting in a return to the lowly Euro-Africa Group Three segment next year.

President of the region of Madrid Angel Garrido also attended the draw and said it will an "an honour" for the city to host the finals. "From the first day to the last, we want Madrid to breathe tennis".

Another footballer with some involvement in the pending investment is five-time Ballon d'Or victor Lionel Messi, who is a partner in the Kosmos company.

Some, such as Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic and Federer, have already said they would support the ATP Cup - seen as a rival team event to the Davis Cup - when it begins in Australia just a few weeks after the ITF's flagship event. "We all care about Davis Cup but where we are going will elevate it and make it much better". This stage will feature two singles matches and one doubles match, instead of the best-of-5 series.

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.

Twelve teams made it to the finals through the qualifying round earlier this month.



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