Saturday, March 7, 2015

Which Countries Are The Future Of Davis Cup?

Davis Cup has been dominated by European countries over the last ten years (notably Spain), but success should be more widespread over the next decade.  Below are some countries that could be forces to reckon with starting in the next few years.  Taken into account is the fact that while Davis Cup is a team event, it doesn't demand a particularly deep team.  One or two dominant players are generally enough to win the cup.  However, given that top players rarely play every tie (or sometimes sit entire years out), it is a big boost if a country does have depth.  This allows a team to make up for any one player's absence, and goes a long way to ensuring a team will be a consistent threat year in and year out.

Australia:  Australia looks like they will be the team to beat in this event starting in the next few years.  They've got great young players and lots of them.  Nick Kyrgios is the leader of the pack, and if he can ever stay healthy should become one of the best players in the world.  18 year old Thanasi Kokkinakis just won a big five setter for his country in this weekend's Davis Cup tie against the Czech Republic, coming back from two sets down.  He has a huge game, and should be a major presence for the Australian team over the next decade.  Bernard Tomic could also play a big role in Australia's Davis Cup success, as the talented young player seems to have gotten his career back on track.  It may take a few years, but Australia could win multiple Davis Cup titles over the next decade.

United States:  The United States has been struggling lately in Davis Cup, but this should change within the next few years.  We can't know which of the young American players on the verge will actually break through and become great players, but the emerging group includes so many talented players its hard to believe at least a few won't make it.  Between Jared Donaldson, Stefan Kozlov, Francis Tiafoe, Michael Mmoh and a host of other talented teenagers, the U.S. team could become a force starting in a few years.  If Jack Sock keeps improving, he could play an important role in the team's success as well, given his singles and doubles ability.  Donald Young (and potentially Ryan Harrison if his latest comeback is for real) could also help bridge the gap and provide veteran leadership when the next group is ready for the big stage.

Croatia:  If Marin Cilic comes back healthy from his wrist injury and returns to form, Croatia's Davis Cup team could be nasty over the next five years.  Cilic is only 26, so he should still be around for 6 or 7 more years.  18 year old Borna Coric is already ranked around 60 in the world, and is widely considered one of the games best prospects.  If Coric develops into the superstar many think he is destined to be, Croatia will be a team no one will want to face.

Japan: Kei Nishikori is now a top five player in the world, and is just entering his prime as he hits his mid-twenties.  It appears like he may have some help on the way, as 19 year old Yoshihito Nishioka has just cracked the top 150 in the world.  It's hard to project just how far Nishioka will go, but people are expecting big things out of him.  If he can develop into a solid number two for the Japanese team, they will be set with strong singles player for the next several years.  However, doubles could be a problem, as they don't currently have anyone in the top 200 in the world.

Other countries a few years further behind, but still on their way: South Korea, Russia and France:  A look at the junior and ATP under 20 rankings shows South Korea could be a force to be reckoned with a bit down the road.  They have 3 players in the top 10 in the junior world rankings, and a couple others starting to make strides in the pros.  Russia also has a couple of top junior players that seem ready to take the next step, and could be a very competitive team within the next four years.  Similarly, after France's current group of Tsonga, Monfils, Gasquet and Simon begin to wind down, France appears to have some talent waiting in the wings.  They currently have 3 of the top 20 teenagers in the world.  There may be a few down years for the French while they are in transition, but after that their current crop of teenagers should be able to return the team to relevance.  

No comments:

Post a Comment