Nine of the top 20 men’s tennis players in the world will travel to Malaga as the Andalucian port city prepares to host one of the biggest tournaments of the sporting calendar year.

Malaga will host the Davis Cup finals later this month, where eight countries will face-off in the famous knock-out format. 

After playing the group stages at four different cities around Europe in September, the losers were weeded out and the top two teams in each group progressed: Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Canada, Australia and the United States.

World number one Carlos Alcaraz is expected to steer Spain to its seventh Davis Cup victory.

But the 19-year-old, the youngest ever men’s world number one player, is under an injury cloud after he retired from his last match against Holger Rune in the quarter finals of the Paris Masters last week. 

Tennis: Miami Open
World number one Carlos Alcaraz is expected to steer Spain to its seventh Davis Cup victory. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA

Rafael Nadal, current world number two, was not named in the side and played his last match of the season at the Paris Masters last week. 

The United States will also be a strong contender for the title.

The Americans will be led by world number nine Taylor Fritz and world number 19 Frances Tiafoe, who is coming off strong results at the US Open where he upset world number two Rafael Nadal to advance to the semi finals.

The American pair also defeated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the doubles of the Laver Cup in London in September, guiding Team World to victory against Team Europe. 

640px Davis Cup 2018 France Spain
The Davis Cup finals will start on November 22.

Canada will be led by world number six Felix Auger-Aliassime, former US Open champion Marin Cilic heads the Croatian team, while the pairing of world number 15 and former world number 6 and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini will be ones to watch. 

Russia defeated Croatia in the Davis Cup finals last year, but was suspended from participating this year due to the country’s involvement in the Ukrainian war. 

The Davis Cup quarter finals start on November 22 until the semi finals on November 25-26. 

The final will be played on the last day of that week, November 27.

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