Canada’s next Davis Cup battle will take place in the nation’s capital when Great Britain comes to town in February.
Although the match-up for the World Group first round tie was revealed in September, Tennis Canada announced Ottawa as the host city on Wednesday. The tie will be played on an indoor hard court, February 3-5. As the country celebrates its 150th anniversary year, it will be Canada’s first Davis Cup action in the capital since February 1994.
Back then, Canada was playing in a Group II zonal tie against Jamaica, a far cry from the recent success which saw Canada advance to the Davis Cup semifinals in 2013 and the quarterfinals in 2015.
Canada versus Great Britain is anticipated as one of the marquee match-ups of the first round, potentially featuring new world number one Andy Murray and Canada’s top-ranked singles player ever, world number four Milos Raonic. Both men are currently playing in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London. Raonic is tied for second in his group with one win and one loss in round robin play. A win against Austria’s ninth-ranked Dominic Thiem on Thursday night would place him into the semifinals against the winner of the opposite group, currently led by a 2-0 Murray.
“We are really excited to be making a long overdue return to Ottawa for Davis Cup,” said Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau. “We are always at our best when we play at home in front of loud, patriotic crowds and that is exactly what we will need here to defeat a strong team from Great Britain. This will be the first time many of our guys will play in this city and we are really looking forward to introducing a new generation of tennis fans to the passion and excitement that is Davis Cup.”
Canada’s four-man team will be selected at a later date. Raonic and doubles stalwart Daniel Nestor missed both ties in 2016 due to injury and personal reasons. In 15 years of Davis Cup, Nestor has not played only three times. Five players represented Canada in 2015, led by Vasek Pospisil, who has appeared in 13 ties in his career, and Frank Dancevic, who has played in 24 ties. They were joined by Philip Bester, Adil Shamasdin and 2016 Wimbledon junior champion Denis Shapovalov.
Upcoming is the sixth straight year that Canada will compete in the elite 16-team World Group, solidifying that position with a 5-0 win over Chile in the World Group playoffs in September. Great Britain won the Davis Cup in 2015, ending a 79-year title drought. In that year-long run to victory, Murray won all eight of his singles matches and his three doubles matches, all of which were played with his brother Jamie. Great Britain lost in the semifinals this year, dropping a 3-2 decision to Argentina, who will face Croatia in the 2016 final at the end of the month.
Canada and Great Britain have had just one previous meeting in the more than 100-year history of the Davis Cup. That was all the way back in May 1967 when the Brits earned a 4-1 win.