The draw for the U16 junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas finals was held on Monday in Madrid, Spain and Canada is among the favourites in both the boys and girls competitions. The event gets underway on Tuesday at Caja Majica, site of the Madrid Open.
In total, 32 teams, 16 boys and 16 girls, will represent their countries. Each team, composed of three players and a captain, had to earn their place in the finals at various qualifying events around the world earlier this year. Teams are divided into four groups of four and the winners of each group will face off in the semifinals.
Canada is seeded No. 1 in junior Davis Cup ahead of Australia, the United States and Russia. The Canadian squad features two top 30 players on the ITF junior rankings, Félix Auger-Aliassime (no. 23) and Denis Shapovalov (no. 29). Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov won the junior U.S. Open doubles title earlier this month. The Canadian trio, led by captain Oded Jacob, will be completed by Vancouver’s Benjamin Sigouin (no. 83). Canada will open the tournament against Poland and will complete the round robin portion with ties against Hong Kong and the Czech Republic.
“We have completed our preparation and we have done everything we can to be ready,” said Jacob. “Everyone is healthy and the boys have a good team spirit. They are looking forward to the challenge they have in front of them. We have six busy days ahead of us and we have to take it one day at a time. The expectations are high given that we are the top seeds, but the competition will be fierce and we expect to play close matches.”
Canada will also be able to count on a talented Fed Cup team composed of Charlotte Robillard-Millette (no. 7), Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (no. 23) and Vanessa Wong (no. 111), who joined the team following the injury withdrawal of Katherine Sebov (no. 26). A few weeks ago, Andreescu and Robillard-Millette played in the final of the International Junior Tennis Open in Repentigny. The adversaries will now join forces when they begin their title bid tomorrow against Colombia followed by ties against Japan and Great Britain. Canada, led by captain Ralph Platz, is seeded fourth behind the Czech Republic, the United States and Russia.
“We have some tough teams in our group but we also have a strong sense of belief that we can compete and produce results here,” said Platz. “The team spirit and pride is extremely high and we have some experience on our side as well. We have a strong team and a determined one and we’re ready to hit the courts tomorrow and get this going.”