Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2017 Davis Cup.

In the end, only two nations remain standing as we near the close of the tennis world’s biggest party of the year.

Belgium and France are off to the latter’s home country for the right to compete in the 2017 Davis Cup final. As we’ve done since the beginning of 2017 for this year-round world tournament, we’ll take a stab at predicting the upcoming tie. If you recall, that’s what we’ve done for the quarterfinals and the semifinals, and it’s led to, erm, lukewarm results: we went 2-2 in the quarters, and 1-1 for the semis. Three for 6.


In other words, we were neither good nor bad, basically just as good at flipping a coin. Fun.

How France got here

The France squad is possibly the deepest group in the Davis Cup, with a number of singles players available for captain Yannick Noah to go with the best doubles pairing in the world. They first overwhelmed a rather green Japan team in the quarterfinals, then run roughshod through Great Britain and Serbia when they had choice of the venue and playing surface, and now here they are.

That they managed this with their Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, their best singles player, only playing against Serbia in this latest tie, just shows how absurd France’s team is.

How Belgium got here

The Belgian team, meanwhile, knows who they are and who they can rely on, and that’s how captain Johan Van Herck managed throughout the tournament. Belgium somehow trashed a Germany team counting on the Zverev brothers and Philipp Kohlschreiber without David Goffin, before Goffin himself overwhelmed Italy in the quarterfinals.

They booked their ticket to the final when this same Goffin brought Belgium back against Australia, before Steve Darcis closed the deal.


We could see this final going either way. On the one hand, you have a Belgian team that’ll roll with the same four guys (i.e. a total of only five players have played in this year’s Davis Cup for the country) and that knows what their strengths and weaknesses are. In singles, Belgium will roll with Goffin and the underrated Darcis, whose one loss this year came in five sets against Nick Kyrgios, and they’ll do their best in doubles. But they believe they can win three of four singles rubbers against your two best players, and so far they have.

As for France, the team’s ceiling is probably the alignment that Noah selected for the semifinal tie against Serbia, with Tsonga and Lucas Pouille taking care of the singles rubbers and the doubles pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut—but should there be injuries to Pouille or Tsonga, France should still be fine. That’s because the French basically enter every tie knowing they’re up 1-0 thanks to a doubles victory.

We’ve been riding with France the entire year, and we would be foolish to leave the wagon now. Let’s say Darcis beats Tsonga, then Pouille takes care of Goffin. France then takes a 2-1 lead after doubles, Darcis beats Pouille before… Tsonga beats Goffin.

In what’s become more or less an annual tradition, a veteran leads his country to the Davis Cup title. It’s your time, Tsonga.

France wins 3-2

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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