Tennis Canada announced Tuesday the Canadian Davis Cup team nominated to compete in the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie between Canada and France being held in Guadeloupe from March 4-6.
Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, Ont.), Daniel Nestor (Toronto), Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver), and Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ont.) were named to the squad by captain Martin Laurendeau to compete on an outdoor clay court at the Vélodrome Amédée Detraux in Guadeloupe, France. Filip Peliwo (Vancouver) and Adil Shamasdin (Toronto) will also be travelling to Guadeloupe with the team as part of an extended squad of players.
Last week, the French Tennis Federation announced the team that will play in front of a home crowd of 8,000 people against Canada. They selected four Top 20 singles players in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 9), Richard Gasquet (No. 10), Gael Monfils (No. 17) and Gilles Simon (No. 19). They will also have doubles specialist Edouard Roger-Vasselin, ranked No. 19, with their team. This tie marks the return of legendary Frenchman Yannick Noah as captain of the squad.
“France is a very proud Davis Cup nation and we know they have put a lot of time, effort and resources into this tie,” said Laurendeau. “They are also bringing their absolute ‘A’ team. They are doing everything they can to try and win and so it will be on us to go in there and attempt to spoil their party a bit. We are bringing our ‘A’ team as well and I believe fully in the guys we have and that they will give it all they’ve got to pull off the upset here.”
Dancevic has been a regular member of Canada’s Davis Cup team since 2002, missing just one year of competition when he was hindered with a back injury in 2008. At 22 ties played, he is one of only four Canadians to receive the Davis Cup Commitment Award for playing at least 20 ties for your country. He is currently ranked No. 245 on the ATP World Tour rankings.
This is Nestor’s 24th year playing Davis Cup, as he adds to the Canadian Davis Cup records he already holds, including most wins (47), most doubles wins (32), and most ties played (49). Currently ranked world No. 11, Nestor is off to a great start to 2016 having reached the Australian Open final with partner Radek Stepanek. He is third on the all-time list for most doubles titles in the Open Era with 88 and earlier this year became the first doubles player in history to reach 1,000 match victories.
Pospisil will be playing his 11th tie for Canada in Davis Cup. He has been an integral part of the team since 2011, when he posted a 6-1 record through three ties and nearly single-handedly won Canada’s World Group play-off against Israel. Last year, he captured the fifth and deciding rubber in the first round again Japan to send Canada to the quarter-finals. Currently ranked No. 45 in the world, he posted his best singles result in 2015 by reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. At No. 19 in doubles, he captured his first title of season last week in Rotterdam with Nicolas Mahut after reaching the quarter-finals at the Aussie Open with regular partner Jack Sock.
Raonic has been a Davis Cup ace for Canada, going 11-2 in singles since Canada returned to the World Group in 2012. After losing much of the 2015 season to injury, Raonic has started this season with a renewed focus and improved game. He defeated Roger Federer in the Brisbane final in his first tournament of the season to claim the title and then matched his best Grand Slam result ever by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open before falling to Andy Murray. Raonic currently sits at No. 13 on the ATP World Tour rankings.
France holds a 2-0 record against Canada in Davis Cup play. The first time the teams met was in 1966 when France won 5-0. In the 2012 World Group first round, France again defeated Canada 4-1 in Vancouver. For this tie, France is the seeded team with an ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking of No. 5 while Canada is ranked No. 10.
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 last season by defeating Japan 3-2 in the first round in Vancouver. Canada, missing its top two players in the injured Raonic and Pospisil, then lost to Belgium 5-0 in July’s quarter-finals in Ostend.
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. Last season, the French team defeated Germany in the first round before falling to Great Britain 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. A total of 135 nations are participating in 2016 and only the top 16 countries each year qualify for the World Group and play for the prestigious Davis Cup trophy.
The matches will be broadcast by Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Please check local listings for the full schedule.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas match schedule for Canada vs. France
Friday, March 4, 2016 – 11 a.m. Singles
Saturday, March 5, 2016 – 2 p.m. Doubles
Sunday, March 6, 2016 – 11 a.m. Reverse Singles