The 2017 Davis Cup will be the first year that the Argentinian team enters as the defending champions. The Argentines, behind solid play from Comeback Player of the Year Juan Martin del Potro, defeated the Croatians in November. With the win they claimed their first title and they enter the 2017 Davis Cup season as the No. 1 seed in the World Group.

Davis Cup play starts on February 3rd

World Group play in the first round of the 2017 Davis Cup starts on February 3rd. That is an early start to the Davis Cup season as it did not begin until March in 2016.

The first-round ties are as follows, with nominated players for the rubbers still pending at this point:

  • Argentina (1) vs Italy
  • Belgium (7) vs Germany
  • Czech Republic (4) vs Australia
  • Switzerland (5) vs USA
  • Japan vs France (6)
  • Canada vs Great Britain (3)
  • Russia vs Serbia (8)
  • Spain vs Croatia (2)

Australian Open success can affect availability

The early start date certainly is not irrelevant, because February 3rd is just a handful of days after the men's singles final from the 2017 Australian Open. That is a point that is important to note, because any player that makes the late rounds of Melbourne Park might not actually be ready for Davis Cup action. For example, Milos Raonic made the Australian Open semifinals last season and he still was not able to represent Canada in the Davis Cup a full month later.

That meant that peripheral Canadian players had to try and beat France's best and it sent Canada crashing out quickly. The way I'm looking at the Canada/Great Britain tie is that it might not feature either Raonic or Andy Murray, two players that may even make the Melbourne Park final.

Top players being willing and able to represent their country is always a factor in the Davis Cup.

Another factor is depth and it's the French and Spaniards that have that. Currently Spain have ten players in the Top 100 for the ATP rankings. France has twelve with Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils the respective top-ranked players for each nation. However, those are the two countries that need their top-ranked players the least as the supporting cast of players can still carry their nations through one or two rounds.

But the success of many of the other countries like Switzerland might hinge on one or two players, like Roger Federer, contributing.

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