Charles Perrin explains why the reinvention of the Davis Cup will appeal to fans and why Team GB will fancy their chances...
After undergoing a massive revamp at a cost of £2.15 billion, the Davis Cup finals will be played in Spain next week. Eighteen teams have been drawn into six groups of three and the tournament will be contested over seven days. The competition will be staged at Caja Magica - the home of the Madrid Open - but it will be played on hard courts instead of clay.
Rafael Nadal will spearhead Spain's charge, as the host nation look to lift the tournament for the first time since 2011 when they beat Argentina. Madrid will also stage the 2020 finals too.
Can Andy Murray recreate magic of 2015?
Cast your mind back four years and perhaps the enduring image of the Davis Cup final was Andy Murray collapsing on the clay in the Flanders Expo, Ghent after he produced an inch perfect lob over David Goffin, following a 19-stroke rally in the fourth rubber. Kyle Edmund was due to play Ruben Bemelmans in the final rubber of the day, but he wasn't required as Murray's victory over Goffin sealed a 3-1 win.
The triumph was Britain's first since 1936 and Murray joined John McEnroe by becoming just the second player in the tournament's history to win all eight of his singles rubbers in a single year since the introduction of the World Group in 1981.
Currently, Team GB are outsiders at 18.00 to get their hands on the Davis Cup, but there's something about team events that brings the best out of Murray. Feeding off the energy of the crowd as well as being so versatile means he can help his side come to the fore at just the right time. Team GB are in Group E which also contains Kazakhstan and Netherlands, and on the face of it, should present few problems. Murray will represent Team GB at the Davis Cup for the first time since 2016 after he was given a wildcard and his experience will no doubt give his team-mates a lift too.
While Nadal has 84 ATP Tour titles to his name, he has also lit up the Davis Cup. With four winners' medals, the 33-year-old is making his first appearance in the competition since lifting the trophy in 2009. He was sorely missed in 2010 when Spain crashed out in the quarter-finals after a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of France - their first whitewash in over 50 years.
Spain are the favourites on the Betfair Exchange at 4.00 to lift the Davis Cup and with a team containing Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez, they will be formidable opponents.
Italy dark horses
Although recently crowned Next Gen Finals champion Jannik Sinner will sit out the Davis Cup finals, Italy could spring a shock. The country has enjoyed a renaissance on the tennis scene and currently have eight players in the top 100 of the men's game, of which two are inside the top 20.
Let's not forget that Italian Nicola Pietrangeli is the leading all-time Davis Cup player and boasts a 78-32 record for singles ties. Italy are priced at 18.00 to lift the Davis Cup and, with a side brimming with talent, they could make real waves in the tournament.