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A-Z guide to the Davis Cup final

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:03

A is for Argentina
Well, its not a bad one to start with is it? The hosts go into this weeks final against Spain as very strong favourites, despite never having won the event (captain Alberto Mancini reckons they can win 5-0). Theyve reached two finals before (in 1981 when they lost 3-1 to the US and in 2006 when they were edged out 3-2 by Russia), but given they hold the impressive record of being unbeaten on home soil since 1998 everything points to a home win.

B is for bookies
Back in September, we said back Argentina to reach the final
and, once again, we cant see how the home side can fail to come away with a victory from this weekends tie. The bookmakers agree with us they have the hosts at 1-5 to win although you can find more friendly odds if youre up for predicting the exact score after five rubbers (Argentina to win 4-1 is currently a tempting 15-8 with Victor Chandler). For match betting and more specific odds check the Bet Detective website once the draw has been made on Thursday to find the best deals around.

C is for Cordoba
The Argentine Tennis Associations first choice of venue for the final was the Estadio Orfeo, an indoor hard court venue in Cordoba, the countrys second biggest city where their No.2 player David Nalbandian was born. Instead, though, the ITF decided on the seaside resort of Mar del Plata, a decision that prompted an outburst from Nalbo. The players and captain and the federation want to play in Cordoba, he said. I don’t know why they chose the other place. There must be something under the table with Mar del Plata. It was a bitter blow for the president of the Cordoba Tourism Agency, Gustavo Santos, who reckoned the final would attract a worldwide TV audience of 900 million.

D is for Davis Cup
This weekends tie will decide who wins the 97th staging of the event since the competition began in 1900. Altogether, 120 nations took part in 2008 although just 16 contest the elite World Group. They compete in a knock-out format with ties played over weekends in February (R1), April (QF), September (SF) and November (final). The rest of the nations are split into three regions: Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe/Africa. To get into the World Group nations must fight their way through regional ties eight teams qualify for the World Group play-offs from the Zonal Group I sections (two nations from Asia/Oceania Group I, two from Americas Group I, and four from Europe/Africa Group I). Those eight nations then play-off against that years World Group first round losers with the winners guaranteeing World Group tennis the following year. Anyone got any headache tablets?

E is for Emilio Sanchez
Spains Davis Cup captain, Emilio Angel Sanchez Vicario, comes from one of the worlds most famous tennis families his brother Javier reached the top 30 in the world and sister Arantxa won 14 grand slam titles and reached No.1 in the womens world rankings. Emilio was no slouch himself and won five grand slam men’s doubles titles and the men’s doubles silver medal at the 1988 Olympics.

F is for Ferrer
With Rafael Nadal absent from the Spanish team, the responsibility of leading the visitors into battle falls on the shoulders of David Ferrer.
Had the tie come 12 months earlier, the 26-year-old from Valencia might be more fancied to come away with a couple of wins, but Ferrer hasnt had the best of years and in the last 12 months has slipped seven places down the world rankings from five to No.12. Theres one thing that can be said of Senor Ferrer, though, and that is hes a fighter, a quality he showed in the semi-final when he came back from two sets to one down to beat American Andy Roddick 8-6 in the fifth set. Interestingly, he will go into the tie with a winning record against both Argentinas singles players hes 6-3 ahead in matches against Nalbandian and has beaten Del Potro twice in 2008.

G is for Granollers
Marcel Granollers is the Spanish rookie who was brought in to replace Nadal when the Mallorcan decided he wouldnt be fit enough to play. Granollers, 23, is the world No.56 but itd be a big surprise if he made it onto court for any of the live rubbers as hes never played a Davis Cup match in his life. He did win his first ATP singles title back in April though when he beat James Blake to land the US clay court event in Houston, Texas.

H is for Hand of God
Youve guessed it. Spain will have Ana Ivanovic as their celebrity supporter (see below) while Argentina are expected to be cheered on by footballing legend and Davis Cup regular Diego Maradona. The 48-year-old is in Scotland this week when the Argentine side that he now coaches play a friendly in Glasgow on Wednesday night, but dont be surprised if

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