Toronto, September 23, 2015 – The International Tennis Federation determined Wednesday that the Canadian Davis Cup team will travel to France for the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round. The official draw for the 2016 World Group was conducted at the ITF’s Annual General Meeting in Santiago, Chile. The first-round ties will be played from March 4-6, 2016 with the host city, venue, and surface for Canada versus France to be announced at a later date by the French Tennis Federation.
Canada and France last faced off in 2012 in what was the Canadian team’s first appearance in the World Group since 2004. Prior to 2012, the two nations hadn’t played each other since May 1966, a 5-0 French victory. In the 2012 World Group first round, France defeated Canada 4-1 and because this tie took place in Vancouver, France will now be the host nation for 2016. For this tie, France is the seeded team with an ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking of No. 5 while Canada is ranked No. 10.
“France is definitely a very tough team with a lot of depth but when we’re healthy we feel that we can compete with any country in the world,” said Martin Laurendeau, Canadian Davis Cup team captain. “We are looking forward to next year and doing everything we can to go on a run. Playing away will be a challenge, but we know what it takes to win on foreign soil and we will have to find a way to do that again.”
Canada will be competing in the elite 16-team World Group for a fifth straight year. The team advanced to the World Group quarter-finals for the second time in its history this season by defeating Japan 3-2 in the first round in Vancouver. Canada, missing its top two players in the injured Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, then lost to Belgium 5-0 in July’s quarter-finals in Ostend. Canada was represented this year in Davis Cup by six players – Raonic, Pospisil, Daniel Nestor, Frank Dancevic, Filip Peliwo, and Adil Shamasdin.
France is a perennial Davis Cup contender, having made the Davis Cup final in 2014 and 2010. The nation is a nine-time champion, most recently in 2001. This season, the French team defeated Germany in the first round before falling to Great Britain 3-1 in the quarter-finals. France will have several top athletes to choose from with seven players currently in the Top 50 including Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Gael Monfils.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. A total of 126 nations participated in 2015 and only the top 16 countries each year qualify for the World Group and play for the prestigious Davis Cup trophy.