Tennis Canada announced Tuesday that Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Félix Auger-Aliassime (Montreal, QC), and Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) have been selected by Canadian Davis Cup captain Frank Dancevic to face Slovakia in a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifier on February 1 and 2 at NTC Arena in Bratislava. In addition to his captain duties, Dancevic will also serve as the fourth player for Canada.
“We have been part of the World Group since 2012, but we want to show that we are a country that can aspire to win Davis Cup in the near future. Obviously, the first important step towards that goal is to qualify for the finals in Madrid and we know that Slovakia will be a tough opponent with us also playing on the road and on clay,” said Dancevic. “Our team is young, but the players are motivated to represent their country and are looking forward to competing. We will be focusing on our preparation over the next few days.”
Team Slovakia and captain Dominik Hrbaty nominated Martin Klizan (40), Filip Horansky (217), Nobert Gombos (244), Igor Zelenay (67 in doubles) and Filip Polasek (164 in doubles) to play for the home team.
Shapovalov will be making his sixth Davis Cup appearance. The 19-year-old just reached the third round of the Australian Open where he fell in four sets to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. His Davis Cup record stands at 5-3. During Canada’s last tie against the Netherlands, Shapovalov came from two sets down to defeat Robin Haase in a five-set thriller.
Auger-Aliassime, 18, will contest his second Davis Cup tie after making his debut in Toronto last September, although he did not play a match. Currently ranked no. 106 in the world, he appeared in his maiden Grand Slam main draw at the U.S. Open last year after winning three qualifying matches. In the first round of Rogers Cup last summer, Auger-Aliassime earned the biggest win of his young career over then world no. 18 Lucas Pouille of France.
For his part, Polansky will be making his 13th Davis Cup appearance. The 30-year-old was part of the Canadian squad in Croatia last year, but he did not play a match. He last played against Japan in 2014 where he lost both of his singles matches. Polansky is currently ranked no. 118 in the world.
Canada is competing in the Davis Cup Qualifiers with the hope earning a place in the finals which will be held in Madrid in November 2019. Under the new Davis Cup format, the Qualifiers will pit 12 seeded nations against 12 unseeded countries, with the winners advancing to the finals. Canada is among the seeds for this February tie thanks to its victory over the Netherlands last September.
This will be the second Davis Cup meeting between Canada and Slovakia. The Slovaks won the first encounter 4-1 at IGA Stadium in Montreal in September 1997. Canada currently has a Davis Cup ranking of no. 17 while Slovakia sits at no. 29.