Doubles player Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who with Nicolas Mahut at least made sure top seeds France beat Japan 2-1, summed up the sensation of having virtually no French fans.
Under the new system, group winners - as well as the two second-placed teams with the best records - progress to the quarter-finals, with the semi-finals and final taking place on 23 and 24 November.
On Court Two, Canada's fans celebrated every point with a song as Vasek Pospisil beat Italy's Fabio Fognini before 20-year-old Denis Shapovalov stunned world No. 8 Matteo Berrettini to also win 2-1 and spark a red-and-white party.
It had the feel of a Davis Cup tie but British confidence turned to something a lot more edgy as a very tight first set headed towards its conclusion. The Americans had lost only three matches in total against their neighbors in the previous 15 meetings.
"The only negative in my opinion is we are just starting the last match and it's 12.45am", Nadal said ahead of the doubles.
The teams are playing only two singles and a doubles in each tie, with the group winners advancing to the knockout stage later in the week. In October, he won his first title since his return. In total, 12,114 people watched the matches between Croatia and Russian Federation on Centre Court, Italy and Canada on Court 2, and Belgium and Colombia on Court 3.
Steve Darcis saw off Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-2, before world number 11 David Goffin had to battle back from a set down to avoid a shock against 194th-ranked Daniel Elahi Galan Riveros, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
But the changes have proven controversial, not least because the ATP, which runs the men's tour, is launching its own worldwide tournament in Australia, less than six weeks after this year's Davis Cup ends.
Khachanov had a tougher encounter with Borna Coric and needed three sets to take a win 6-7,6-4, 6-4.
The Barcelona footballer has overseen the transformation of the 119-year-old competition into a season-ending finals featuring 18 nations, which starts in Madrid on Monday. "I hope people realise the Davis Cup is more than just money; it's history". "Tennis is not always the easiest to make changes in and this is a big change".
It was not a good look, although on Monday on the same court a superb clash between Canada and Italy had noisy backing for both teams.
That will take place in Australia at the start of January, with another benefit for the players being it will act as a warm-up event for the Australian Open later in the month.
"I think the last two matches I've been able to really play well".
Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev are the most high-profile absentees while there are concerns too about the atmosphere at matches.
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