Let’s break it down:
Team Serbia: Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic
Team Argentina: Juan Martin Del Potro, David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Juan Ignacio Chela
PREDICTION: Serbia at Home will be a big ask for the Argentines. The 3 Juans join a resurgent Nalbandian so I anticipate a great tie if Djokovic and Tipsarevic are jet-lagged from their US Open exertions. Doubles behemoth Zimonjic should be the deciding factor so I give Serbia a 3-2 win.
Team Spain: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano López
Team France: Jo- Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet
PREDICTION: Pound for pound the 2 best nations in the competition. France will be without Monfils, but that still leaves a pretty impressive French team to go to bat. This one should be very close and I give the French the edge if Llodra plays in their doubles rubber. France to win 3-2
World Group Play-Offs:
Team Australia: Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic, Chris Guccione and Marinko Matosevic
Team Switzerland: Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli and Stefan Bohli
PREDICTION: If some of the fighting spirit rubs off Hewitt onto Tomic, then we have a game. Otherwise, with the Roger and Stan doubles Olympic Gold winning combo, that should do enough to win this tie, so long as Roger is not too tired after the US Open and he has to get to Australia! Switzerland to win 3-2
Team S.Africa: Kevin Anderson, Rik De Voest, Izak De Merwe, Raven Klaasen
Team Croatia: Marin Cilic, Ivan Dodig, Antonio Veic, Nikola Mektic
PREDICTION: Ivo ‘The Lottery’ Karlovic withdrew, so this provides the Saffers with a shot. Anderson has been deadly this season, so he could win both his rubbers, but I still fancy the Croats to get the job done. Croatia to win 3-2
Team India: Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopana, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi
Team Japan: Kei Nishikori, Tatsuma Ito, Go Soeda, Yuichi Sugita.
PREDICTION: Two emerging nations with pretty tidy teams right now. India bring more experience with Paes and Bhupati, which should be the deciding factor. India to win 3-2
Team Romania: Adrian Ungur, Victor Crivoi, Horia Tecau, Marius Copil
Team Czech: Tomas Berdych, Radek Stepanek, Lukáš Rosol & Jan Hájek
PREDICTION: A depleted Romanian team with Hanescu bailing should allow the Czechs an easy 5-0 win.
Team Russia: Mikhail Youzhny, Dmitry Tursunov, Igor Kunitsyn and Igor Andreev
Team Brazil: Thomaz Bellucci, Ricardo Mello, Bruno Soares, Marcelo Melo
PREDICTION: Mad Michael Youzhny returns to bolster the Russians and they look good with both Igors in form too. Russia to win 4-1
Team Israel: Dudi Sela, Amir Weintraub, Jonathan Erlich, Andy Ram
Team Canada: Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky and Daniel Nestor
PREDICTION: This is a sleeper hit. The doubles will be key with loads of experience on both sides in Erlich, Ram and Nestor. Raonic if fit could be the x-factor and I see a Canada win 3-2
Team Chile: Paul Capdeville, Jorge Aguilar, Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu
Team Italy: Fabio Fognini, Potito Starace, Simone Bolelli, Daniele Bracciali
PREDICTION: A few years ago seeing Massu and Gonzalez in the team would a tough assignment, but these days their powers have waned and Italy’s have strengthened. Fognini especailly is having a great year and doubles specialist Bracciali should seal the deal for a 4-1 Italy win.
Team Belgium: Xavier Malisse, Olivier Rochus, Steve Darcis, Ruben Bemelmans
Team Austria: Jurgen Melzer, Andreas Haider-Maurer, Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya
PREDICTION: A competitive tie. Austria bring a better doubles team but I like Rochus and Malisse especially as they are at home. I’ll take the Belgians in a 3-2 win