Tennis is a global sport, we all know that, but the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the event that brings the tennis world together. It is the United Nations event of tennis and it remains the biggest annual team sporting event in the world.
Next year it will celebrate its 115th anniversary and the draw for the 2014 competition was held in the UK headquarters of BNP Paribas in NW London with a panoramic view across the city from the sixth floor balcony that wraps around the building.
And for the first time ever the draw was live streamed around the world and I was delighted to be asked to do the commentary. It certainly is a far cry from the very first internet broadcast of a Davis Cup tie that I was privileged to do in 1999 from the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston as the USA played Australia.
At that time a table, a chair, a fussy TV monitor and a dial-up line was used and I was situated under the stands with no view of the actual court. We only had two hours a day of broadcast time. Now we have three broadcasters in a commentary box with all the live connections we want and the finals is called live from start to finish.
Five draws were held and they culminated with the prestigious World Group. The 16 nations in there have the chance to battle it out under the unique home and away concept, for the trophy itself, just as the Czech Republic and Serbia will do 15, 16, 17 November in Belgrade for the 2013 trophy.
These two nations were named the top two seeds and joining them as seeds were Canada, which has certainly been the big Davis Cup mover this year, coming in as rookies and reaching the semis, Spain, France, USA, Argentina and Kazakhstan.
2014 will mark the first time since 2003 that the four Grand Slam nations are in the World Group and as the draw turned out, they will play each other with France home to Australia and the USA at home to Great Britain led by Andy Murray. For all four, this is a tough first round and things do not get any easier after that.
The winner of France-Australia will take on the likely Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer led Spanish team or Germany (first round is in Germany) while the USA-Great Britain winner will meet either Italy or Argentina.
The Czechs like the Serbs will be at home for their first round ties. The Czech Republic with Tomas Berdych will face The Netherlands and Novak Djokovic’s Serbia has a difficult one against Switzerland. Canada will travel to Japan and the Kazakhs will be at home to Belgium.
Then in the zonal competition you have countries like Brazil, Colombia, India, China and Uzbekistan who will be working hard to reach the play-offs for the 2015 competition and will clash with those nations losing in the first round of the World Group.
The first round of the 2014 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is straight after the Australian Open, 31 January to 2 February. Next year is going to be one of the toughest Davis Cup seasons of the last few years and promises to be spectacular.