Davis Cup Betting

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In 1899, members of the Harvard University tennis team came up with the idea of an International Lawn Tennis Challenge between the United States and the British Isles. A year later, their vision was realised as the first ever “Davis Cup” competition, with its name derived from a trophy donated by one of the U.S. players, Dwight Davis. The four-match contest took place at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, with the Americans a surprise winner.

In 1905, the Davis Cup competition grew to include teams from France, Austria, and Belgium, plus an Australasian side made up of players from Australia and New Zealand. By the 1920s, more than 20 nations were regular participants in the annual event.

The tournament format changed many times in the 20th century. It started out as true “challenge cup,” with teams competing for the right to take on the previous year’s champion. In 1923, challengers were divided into the American Zone and the European Zone, and then a third zone was added, the Eastern Zone, in 1955. By 1966, the European Zone had been split into sections A and B, which was the last change prior to the inauguration of the “Open Era” in 1972, requiring the defending champion to play through the brackets like all the other teams.

In 1981, a tiered system of competition was introduced, and it has remained in place till this day. The 16 top-ranked national teams vie against one another in the “World Group,” while all other national sides compete in three regional zones divided into four groups each. With 125 or more teams taking part, today’s Davis Cup is the foremost international team event in men’s tennis.

The organising authority for the Davis Cup is the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which is responsible for determining the world rankings, allocating seeds, and deciding venues for the elimination matches. Since 2002, BNP Paribas has been the competition’s Title Sponsor, taking over from NEC.

The rounds of the tournament are known as “ties,” with the first one taking place on a weekend in March. Paired teams in the World Group and Zone Groups I and II play five matches in total, including two singles matches on Friday, a doubles match on Saturday and then two reverse singles matches on Sunday. Each tie is hosted by a competing nation.

For Zone Groups III and IV, only three matches are played in each tie, using a best-of-three rubbers format and played on a single day. Two singles matches are followed by one doubles match. The first ties for these groups are scheduled in April through July. Teams advancing from their respective groups meet in play-offs, quarterfinals, and semifinals in July through September. The World Group Final is conducted in December.

Because the matches stretch out through most of the year, there are plenty of opportunities for wagering. Ante post betting on the eventual Davis Cup winner begins as early as January or as soon as the first world rankings are known. There is always lots of speculation about which players will join their national teams. Quite often, top-ranked individual players do not participate, as it can take them away from their professional tournament schedule and concentration on Grand Slam events. The result is a much more even field than might be expected, with lots of openings for upsets by less-heralded teams.

Since the Davis Cup began, the United States has dominated with 32 wins and 29 second-place finishes. Australia follows with 28 titles and 19 runner-up positions, while Great Britain takes third with nine firsts and eight seconds. However, among all three nations there have been just two championships since 1999—Australia in 2003 and the U.S. in 2007—a strong indication of just how open the challenge has become.

Since the turn of the new millennium, Spain has claimed four Davis Cups titles (2000, 2004, 2008, and 2009), and Russia took two (2002 and 2006). France took the cup home in 2001, the 2005 winner was unseeded Croatia, and Serbia came away victorious in 2010.

Apart from bracket wagering, individual match-ups, rubber winners, group winners, and final scores of ties are all available Davis Cup betting markets. In-running or live betting is also popular, especially in the quarter- and semi-final rounds when the matches are televised worldwide.

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