Great Britain will face Spain on clay, in Marbella. Great challeng in Brisbane between Australia and Germany
Davis Cup 2018 starts in the weekend with World Group first round. The most intriguing challenge is probably in Brisbane between Nick Kyrgios's Australia and Alexander Zverev's Germany. Also interesting is the Osijek duel between Croatia of the Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic and Canada of Next Gen Denis Shapovalov. Great Britain without Andy Murray will face Spain without Rafael Nadal on clay, in Marbella.
SPAIN VS GREAT BRITAIN
Club de Tenis Puente Romano, Marbella, Spagna (clay)
It's the first meeting between Great Britain and Spain in over 30 years in the Davis Cup. As if facing Spain away on clay wasn't daunting enough, Leon Smith's men will have to compete without Kyle Edmund on the opening day in Marbella after the Australian Open semifinalist was deemed unfit to start due to a hip injury. Instead, Liam Broady and Cameron Norrie will make their Davis Cup debuts on Friday with clashes against world No. 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas and No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut, respectively. Should Friday's singles go the way of the higher-ranked men, Dominic Inglot and Jamie Murray will bid to keep the tie alive for the visitors when they take on Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez in Saturday's doubles.
AUSTRALIA VS GERMANY
Pat Rafter Arena, Brisbane, Australia (hard)
Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt has backed debutant Alex De Minaur to push world No. 5 Alexander Zverev in the opening match of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in Brisbane, while stressing that the pressure is all on the hotly-favoured German No. 1. Australian spearhead Nick Kyrgios will play German No. 2 Jan-Lennard Struff in the second singles on Pat Rafter Arena. Ebden will team with John Peers in Saturday’s doubles against the nominated combination of Tim Puetz and Peter Gojowczyk, but with a pre-match change to the latter pairing expected.
JAPAN VS ITALY
Morioka Takaya Arena, Morioka, Japan (hard)
Italy have travelled to Japan for the first time to take on the hosts in Morioka, a city surrounded by mountains on three sides. Japan, considered the favourite team after the draw, look as the underdog giving the absence of Kei Nishikori who won his first match since returning from a five-month injury layoff, beating Dennis Novikov 6-3, 6-3 in the first-round of the Challenger Tennis Championships of Dallas. Taro Daniel will play against Fabio Fognini in opening match, while Yuichi Sugita will play Italian No. 2 Andreas Seppi in second singles.
KAZAKISTAN VS SWITZERLAND
National Tennis Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan (hard)
Will the Swiss team carry any feel-good momentum forward from Roger Federer’s 20th Grand Slam win in Australia into their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie against Kazakhstan? Kazakh No. 2 Dmitry Popko will take on Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen in the first rubber of first round clash in Astana. Mikhail Kukushkin will play Adrian Bodmer in the second rubber. Saturday's doubles will see Timur Khabibulin and Aleksandr Nedovyesov aim to repeat their heroics from Kazakhstan's World Group play-off victory against Argentina last year. On that occasion, the pair defeated Argentine veterans Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni. This time they face the more youthful duo of Luca Margaroli and Marc-Andrea Huesler.
BELGIUM VS HUNGARY
Country Hall du Sart-Tilman, Liegi, Belgio (hard)
Belgium has been one of the most consistent Davis Cup squads in the last couple of years, losing in 2015 final to Great Britain and against France back in November. Their best player David Goffin was there to lead his team in almost every tie in the last 6 years and he will be the biggest hope of Belgian team against Hungary in this first round. Back in 2014, Hungary was stuck in Group III but they won 9 out of the next 10 ties to make an impressive progress and reach Group I in 2016. In 2017, they managed to make one extra step and earn the place in the World Group, beating Russia 3-1 in September. Marton Fuscovics became national tennis hero in that tie versus the Russians, defeating Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev in singles and also helping Attila Balazs to earn the doubles point as well.
FRANCE VS THE NETHERLANDS
Halle Olympique, Albertville, Francia (hard)
The 5th rubber hero of the 2017 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final, Lucas Pouille, will open France's 2018 campaign against Thiemo de Bakker on Friday. Pouille will look to right a losing record against Netherlands' De Bakker, having fallen in their only previous match-up (a Challenger back in Bordeaux in 2015). Richard Gasquet will face Robin Haase in the second singles rubber in what will be an eighth encounter between the two players. The doubles pits Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut against Mattwe Middelkoop and Jean-Julien Rojer.
CROATIA VS CANADA
Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt, Osijek, Croazia (clay)
The decision not to field Marin Cilic will undoubtedly be scrutinised but Croatian captain boasts an able deputy in Borna Coric. Coric still holds a sizable ranking advantage over his opening rubber opponent, Peter Polansky. And with Cilic reaching the Australian Open final just a few days ago, captain Krajan opted to rest him for the opening day's action. The second rubber sees Canadian No. 1 Denis Shapovalov take on Viktor Galovic. Croatia will have an advantage in the doubles rubber. Ivan Dodig holds a doubles ranking of No. 8 and Franko Skugor is ranked inside the Top 50. It will not be easy, however, facing a tennis legend in Daniel Nestor and a doubles Grand Slam champion in Vasek Pospisil.
SERBIA VS USA
Sportski Centar Cair, Nis, Serbia (clay)
US No.1 Sam Querrey will lead the American charge against Serbia in Nis when he takes on Laslo Djere in the opening rubber on Friday. World No. 12 Querrey has never played against Djere before, unlike Friday's other opponents Dusan Lajovic and John Isner, who have met four times in total, including two encounters last year. The tall American holds a 3-1 advantage in previous encounters against Serbia's highest-ranked player on sirte. The doubles also seems to favour the visiting nation with Ryan Harrison and Steve Jonson named against Nikola Milojevic and Miljan Zektic.