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

In the end, France stands alone as the 2017 Davis Cup champions after beating Belgium 3-2 in the final

We had turned our eyes to this year-round team competition tournament this season, because when you must write 52 columns in 52 weeks you take the ideas where you can find them. We’re glad that we turned to the Davis Cup, this pretty wonderful event and, not to say we had told you so but yeah, we had told you so. Don’t be surprised, we had written in our quarterfinals preview, if France ends up winning this year’s Davis Cup.

Hey, you take the credit where you can because we have certainly been dead wrong on a bunch of predictions over the years.

So yes, France. 2017 Davis Cup champions. Because in the end, Yannick Noah’s squad was sort of like the final boss in that video game you love, the one you have to kill off about 18 different times and ways before ever hoping to finally beat the game.

Because that’s probably what it felt like, playing against this French team. Consider that no fewer than eight different players suited up for the country over the four different ties they played this year, including Richard Gasquet who played in the first round and the final but not in between. Consider that Nicolas Mahut (!!!) is the French player who came closest to competing in every tie, only he didn’t actually play in the final.

That’s what it actually was to be in Yannick Noah’s shoes: you had a built-in advantage in more or less every doubles rubber behind the team of Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and you don’t even need them all that much in the final. HA!

If you’re Noah, you’ll have to be excused if you spend an extra minute or two enjoying this win.

Against such a force, Belgium gave it all it had but they couldn’t quite pull off the upset. It’s what they say about how David doesn’t beat Goliath every time, right?

Not that Belgium was a true David. Remember, Johan Van Herck’s team was seeded no. 7 at the start of this year’s tournament, then took down Italy, and the Alexander Zverev-led Germany and Nick Kyrgios-led Australia teams to reach the final.

Which is to say that Belgium wasn’t entirely devoid of options. They had a clear No. 1 player who could conceivably beat the other team’s best player (except for a few options) in David Goffin and a pretty good No. 2 in Steve Darcis (a 3-2 singles record in 2017).  Doubles was whatever, but Van Herck was confident that his 1-2 singles punch could bring him to win 3 out of 5 against most teams.

Only, France isn’t like most teams. The 26-year-old Goffin could have been the latest to use a Davis Cup triumph as a springboard to a dominant following season on the ATP World Tour, much like sort of Juan Martin Del Potro (2016), Andy Murray (2015), Roger Federer (2014) Rafael Nadal (2011) and Novak Djokovic (2010).

But it wasn’t meant to be and instead it’s a second runner-up bid in three years for Belgium. That’s still great.

And the French are the ones dancing. For the players in this generation’s crop of French players, it’s a delight to give their country a 10th Davis Cup title and a first one after 16 years.

Allons, enfants de la Patrie. Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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