The Davis Cup is returning in 2024 after a dramatic edition of the historic team event last year. Italy won the competition last year with a 2-1 win in the final against Australia.
That success saw Jannik Sinner get a hero's welcome in Milan. This is no surprise since he crucially defeated Novak Djokovic on Italy's run to the title. The 22-year-old also recently beat Djokovic in the Australian Open semifinal, although Sinner did not celebrate afterward.
The winning nations in the play-off ties will play a World Group 1 tie in September, while the losing teams face the prospect of a World Group 2 tie in the same month. Undoubtedly, the play-offs are very important.
Tsitsipas is looking to bounce back after his loss to Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open fourth-round. Greece play at home against Romania in the play-off, which Tsitsipas and his team are very strong favourites for.
Ruud suffered a surprise loss to Cameron Norrie in Melborne, and is also seeking a strong response to that setback. His Norwegian team is even bigger favorites at home against Latvia, whose highest-ranked singles player is No. 344.
Hurkacz had an impressive Australian Open, but he narrowly lost in the quarterfinal in 5 sets to Daniil Medvedev. His Polish team are away in Tashkent against Uzbekistan, but would also be expected to come through it with Hurkacz in their team.
The commitment of these three Top 20 players to their countries is impressive. It may have been tempting to skip the ties after the Australian Open and focus on what lies ahead on the ATP Tour, but they have not done this.
Hopefully, this year's Davis Cup can repeat the drama we were treated to last year.