France and Croatia will be facing each other in Lille for this year’s Davis Cup final.
The French team coached by Yannick Noah will want to keep hold of the title after winning it last year.
Noah will want to end his period as France coach with a bang as this will be his last match in charge of the team. Next year, former world number 1 Amelie Mauresmo will take over as manager of the team.
France will be facing a very tough Croatian side coached by Zeljko Krajan who won against Canada, Kazakhstan and the United States to make it to the last stage of the tournament.
Croatia won the tournament only once in their history, in 2005, but came close to glory in 2016 when they were defeated by Argentina in the final.
The matches will be played over three days, from today up to Sunday. Two singles fixtures will be played today, a doubles fixture on Saturday and to end the tournament, there will be the reverse singles matches on Sunday.
The winner of each match gets one point and the winner of the final will be the team who gets three wins out of the five matches. Each match is played in a five-set format just like in the Grand Slam title matches.
It’s the first day of the #DavisCupFinal!
Who’s excited?? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/n8ASl6gkGw
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 23, 2018
Three important French players will miss out on this year’s final and these are world no.26 Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jeremy Chardy and Lucas Pouille will represent France for the singles matches while Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert will be the doubles players for the team.
The highest ranked player of the final will be on Croatia’s side and that is world no.7 Marin Cilic. The other two singles players will be the youngster Borna Coric and reserve player Franko Skugor. In doubles, Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic will try to earn important points for the team to win the final.
France have decided to play the final on clay and reserve singles player Lucas Pouille expressed some concerns with regards to possible injuries on this kind of surface.
“At the end of the year, it isn’t easy to make in two, three weeks all the necessary preparation for this surface. There is a risk of injury caused by fatigue,” said Pouille to Agence France-Presses.
After finishing the ATP World Tour finals in London with just one win out of three, Marin Cilic will surely want to bring his A-game and lead the Croatian side to victory.
Twice in the 2000s, a player on the ATP Tour has started his season with a final-round loss at the Australian Open, and ended it with a title at the Davis Cup. Croatia's Marin Cilic will attempt to be the third: https://t.co/K2H8bwo21X pic.twitter.com/WNJz7v8N83
— TENNIS.com (@Tennis) November 22, 2018
The Croatian has some very good memories of the last meeting between the two sides when they met in the 2016 semi-finals. In fact, Cilic had won both in doubles as well as in the singles matches to carry Croatia to the final against Argentina.
While France will have the crowd on their side they know that Croatia is a very strong side and that they will have to put out their best displays if they want to be crowned champions.