TL;DR Recap 🎾 Davis Cup Final

🇫🇷 France vs Croatia 🇭🇷, Djokovic Wants Players To Boycott Davis Cup Rule🤔, What Next For Davis Cup❓

There are lots of images/GIFS in ‘The Racquet’ so it may take a while to load depending on your wifi/4g. I promise it’s worth it 😅.


If you don't want to see the results yet, and want to catch up with the highlights, stop scrolling now! Links (some may get removed):

Best Match Of The Weekend:

🇫🇷Mahut/Herbert 🎥 Pavic/Dodig 🇭🇷

🇫🇷 Pouille 🎥 Cilic 🇭🇷

🇭🇷 Cilic 🎥 Tsonga 🇫🇷

🇭🇷 Coric 🎥 Chardy 🇫🇷


💥 = Beatdown \\ 🤕 = Injury \\ ‼️ = Upset

🇭🇷 Croatia d France 🇫🇷

Lille, France - Indoor Clay

  • (Rubber 1) 🇭🇷 Coric d Chardy 🇫🇷: 6-2, 7-5, 6-4

  • (Rubber 2) 🇭🇷 Cilic d Tsonga 🇫🇷: 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

  • (Rubber 3) 🇫🇷Mahut/Herbert d Pavic/Dodig 🇭🇷: 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)

  • (Rubber 4) 🇭🇷Cilic d Pouille 🇫🇷: 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-3

— Croatia win the 2018 Davis Cup, 3-1 🏆.

Key Matches = (1st & 2nd Rubbers)

The keys for this tie lay mainly in France’s team selection and the surface choice (clay). Noah’s failure to pick Simon (who has a 6-1 winning H2H vs Cilic & has won their last two matches + a 2-0 record vs Coric), and repair his damaged relationship with Monfils, cost France their two best shots at victory this weekend. Chardy was always going to struggle on clay, and Tsonga and Pouille are both woefully short of form. It felt like Noah picked the surface to try and limit Cilic’s (Croatia’s obvious top threat who loves fast hard courts) weapons, but in doing so also opened up the underbelly of his own team’s shortcomings on such a slow surface. Chardy and Tsonga’s backhands in particular got picked apart by the baseline solidity of Coric and Cilic. Had Simon or Monfils been present, clay would have been an understandable pick with both players being excellent slower court players. But none of Chardy, Tsonga or Pouille have ever played their best tennis on clay, which makes the choice for such an important final, baffling. These shortcomings manifested as a bit of a rout in Croatia’s favour in singles, with Cilic and Coric not dropping serve once in three matches. The bright spot for the French came in the form of the evergreen Mahut/Herbert doubles duo, who, fresh off a great season together, gave the French a short-lived glimmer of hope at an improbable comeback.

Croatia much too good this weekend.

— Croatia 🇭🇷 Your 2018 Davis Cup Champions.


— Coric’s backhand was such a weapon all match vs Chardy in the 1st Rubber.

— Cilic was so comfortable in the backhand-to-backhand battles vs Tsonga. Marin knew Tsonga didn’t have the backhand down the line (at least with any consistency), so could just wait for the right ball to attack.

— Brilliant to see some classic Tsonga flair on court. Hopefully he can start his comeback for real next year, after a tough end to 2018.

— Pavic finding space where there was none.

— Huge forehand down the line from Mahut.

— Crazy reactions from Herbert.

— Ah the ol’ Wii Tennis special.

— Brilliant touch from Pavic.

— Championship/match point for Croatia and Cilic. What a way to clinch it.

— Match point courtside view. Source


🇭🇷 Cilic: “This is something we’ve been working on for so many years. We’ve had our ups and downs, some tough times but always believed we could win it and that’s why it’s such an unbelievable achievement.” Source

🇭🇷 Cilic: “It's just incredible finishing a chapter like this.” Source

🇭🇷 Cilic: “Winning Davis Cup is completely different comparing to Grand Slam, that is an individual achievement. We go through a lot of tough moments.” Source

Cilic on the incoming, new DC format:

“We'll see how the new format will work. From a financial point of view, the small nations were not benefit by the old formula. I think these federations will be able to have more resources, and I find that very good.”

Cilic one of the few with positive words to say about the new format.

🇫🇷 French DC Captain Yannick Noah: “When people say that Kosmos Cup is Davis Cup, they lie.” Source

🇫🇷 Noah: “I really hope they’re not gonna call this (new format) Davis Cup. Playing best of three sets it’s not Davis Cup, playing somewhere else isn’t Davis Cup.” Source

🇫🇷 Noah: “My only regret is that I couldn't help Gael Monfils. Thought Gael would be my main player these 3 years. He only played one match under my captaincy. I don't understand. Couldn't find the key to help him.” Source

(Matt: Context = Monfils and Noah have a shaky relationship. Monfils has previously questioned Noah’s captains choices (for e.g. tie locations), and Noah has criticised Monfils motivation for the team. A real shame, especially considering that Monfils and Simon are France’s best players at the moment (especially on clay), and neither were selected for the Final.)

🇫🇷 Pouille: “This was the last time I play the Davis Cup. I won't change my mind.” Source


📊 All active Slam champions have now won the DavisCup with their respective countries:

  • Federer & Wawrinka🇨🇭(2014)

  • Nadal 🇪🇸 (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011)

  • Murray 🇬🇧 (2015)

  • Djokovic 🇷🇸 (2010)

  • Del Potro 🇦🇷 (2016)

  • Cilic 🇭🇷 (2018)

📊 Croatia is the 10th country to win more than one Davis Cup.

— Djokovic vs Davis Cup

Frederik Rosengren (Kyle Edmunds Coach) has revealed some very interesting information about Novak Djokovic, who is head of the ATP players council, attempting to persuade fellow top players to boycott the Davis Cup Olympic Eligibility rule.

Watch the full interview clip, and support Alex’s tennis talk show: (Interview Clip 🎥)

Rosengren: “The ITF has rules that one must play two Davis Cup matches the same year as the Olympics to represent his country in the Olympic Games. He (Djokovic) wants the players to boycott that particular rule.”

Rosengren: “For me, Davis Cup is dead. I haven't heard any player being positive about it. Federer and Djokovic will play? Bullshit. Good luck.” Source

This is the rule in question:

Given that many top players would only need to play 1-2 ties in 2019/20 to be eligible for the Olympics in 2020, if many of the top players agreed to boycott the rule, it becomes very hard to see how the Davis Cup won’t crumble, with regard to player participation, in the first two years of its new format.

This interview was interesting for lots of reasons. Firstly it’s very surprising that Rosengren was comfortable sharing a private email that Edmund received on a public talk show. And secondly it alludes to the proactive ambition which Djokovic seemingly possesses in his position as the top player representative of the ATP Players Council. Novak helped unveil the ATP’s competing team competition (the ‘ATP Cup’) a week or so ago in London, alongside ATP power brokers Craig Tiley and Chris Kermode. This indicates that despite publicly backing the new Davis Cup format just a few months ago, Djokovic has firmly chosen sides.

On the same day (yesterday), Haggerty (the president of the ITF), suggested that talks were progressing between the ATP and ITF, with a potential combined event being the preference of both sides:

The issue for Haggerty and the ITF is that they hold a significantly weaker negotiating position than the ATP. The ITF holds little practical influence over the ATP and the players, other than a hostage in the form of Olympic Eligibility. The ITF also has non-extistent control in practice over the Slams, which remain the only, and most significant, area of the tour in which the ATP lacks influence. For this reason I can understand why the ITF would want to partner up with the ATP, especially given the apparent player support the ATP has in the form of Djokovic and Federer. But I struggle to see what benefit the ATP would reap by partnering with the ITF. The two organisations have tried a joint event before in the shape of the Tennis Masters Cup (the immediate predecessor to the ATP Finals) from 1999-2009. But as with all the historical ITF and ATP relationships/ventures, the two sides struggled to balance their individual ambitions for the sport. Tough to see how this won’t continue to be an issue.

There will be a longer special issue (coming this week) of The Racquet exploring what could happen with the ITF vs ATP situation. Tennis is currently in one of its most unstable and fragmented periods in recent history (probably since the 1972 Wimbledon boycott), with the two foundational organisations of mens tennis being very close to all-out war.

— The French team congratulating the Croatians in their dressing room. Very classy in defeat and a nation that has always represented the very best of the Davis Cup ethos. Source

The ecstasy…

… and the agony (Pouille).

— The Davis Cup (1900-2018) stuttered to the end of this year with well-known financial, participatory, calendar and organisational issues. But it will be remembered for producing some of the most intensely passionate and absorbing moments in tennis history. Letting, what are usually, chronically individual competitors come together as a team, for a few glorious weeks of national pride and honour every year, has consistently and uniquely shown how much this sport means to so many of its icons, as well as its lesser known heroes. The event has routinely had more caring, invested and knowledgable fans turning up year after year than many Slams or Masters events. And the players themselves value their Davis Cup titles and near-misses as some of the most special or heartbreaking moments of their careers. Much uncertainty shrouds the future of the this competition, and particularly whether its soul will survive the impending format change. But as we stand on the precipice of change in mens tennis, the history of this event should be held up and celebrated as something that made players and fans alike care deeply about this sport we all love. That kind of passion is rare and cherished in any sport, so for that: thank you Davis Cup.


— The Racquet is created, and written, by Matt.

— You can find me on Twitter here.

See you tomorrow for a subscriber update on the future plans of The Racquet.