In the Davis Cup Finals’ group stage, 16 teams congregated in four cities (Bologna, Manchester, Valencia, and Split this year, hard indoors everywhere), forming four groups, each with four teams. This format has been in place for the second consecutive year.
Among the eight teams that advanced further to the knockout stage, the most surprising is Finland, mentally led by former world No. 13 Jarkko Nieminen. They caused the biggest upset of the week by eliminating the United States. Otto Virtanen  emerged as a Finnish hero. The 22-year-old Finn with a powerful serve, who hadn’t won an ATP match prior to this week, managed to secure three consecutive rubbers for his country, including two victories over players much more experienced than him.
Carlos Alcaraz, being disappointed by his semifinal loss at the US Open, made the decision to withdraw from the event. The second-best active Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, who is currently third in the rankings, is sidelined due to injury and hasn’t played for two months. This weakened the Spanish team, causing them to miss out on the finals, a significant setback for the tennis powerhouse of the first two decades of this century, especially considering that the finals are taking place in Spain once again.
Canada, the defending champion, deprived of two players who won the trophy a year before, shocked spectators in Bologna as they outplayed Italy and then dominated their group, finishing with an impressive 8-1 record. Challenger player Alexis Galarneau  strongly contributed with two singles wins and three doubles victories. The Czech team performed even better, concluding the group stage with a perfect 9-0 record, marking a historic achievement in this new format.
The weakest teams in terms of rankings, Sweden & South Korea, had similarly poor outcomes as theoretically much stronger Switzerland; each securing just one victory out of the nine possible.
In an intensely contested tie between two big tennis nations, Britain triumphed over France in a late-night conclusion of the week (11 pm on Sunday), saving four match points in the deciding doubles (four unreturned serves). Dan Evans helped the Brits the most.
In the most captivating tie of World Group I, Slovakia overcame Greece in Athens at the Panathenaic Stadium, a unique venue in the world entirely constructed from marble. Stefanos Tsitsipas continues to grapple with finding his form, managing only one point (out of 2.5 possible), narrowly avoiding defeat in his first singles as he was just three points away from losing to a much inferior player.
Group A / Canada, Italy… Chile, Sweden
Group B / Britain, Australia… France, Switzerland
Group C / Czechia, Serbia… Spain, Korea
Group D / Netherlands, Finland… USA, Croatia