The International Tennis Federation determined Thursday that the Canadian Davis Cup team will host Great Britain for the 2017 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round. The official draw for the 2017 World Group was conducted at the ITF offices in London, England. The first-round ties will be played from February 3-5, 2017 with the host city, venue, and surface to be announced at a later date by Tennis Canada.
Canada and Great Britain have only played once in the history of Davis Cup, with the Brits posting a 4-1 win in Bournemouth, England back in May 1967. Since there is no recent history between the two countries, the host nation for the tie was determined by lot. As current defending champions, Great Britain is the No. 1 ranked Davis Cup country in the world and will be the seeded nation for this tie. Canada is currently ranked No. 12. The winner of this tie will advance to the Davis Cup quarter-finals in April while the loser will be forced to play a World Group play-off tie next September.
“Every country in the World Group is a tough opponent, but certainly drawing the current world No. 1 is not an easy draw,” said Canada’s team captain Martin Laurendeau. “They have been on a great run the past two years. That being said, we have the home court advantage which has been a huge benefit to us for the past four years and I know that our players and our fans will rise to the challenge to show everyone that we can play with the best in the world.”
Canada will be competing in the elite 16-team World Group for a sixth straight year after defeating Chile 5-0 in last weekend’s World Group play-off tie held in Halifax. Canada was forced to compete in that tie to keep their spot in the upper echelon of the competition after falling to France on the road in Guadeloupe in the first round in March. Due to various injury-related and personal reasons, Canada was without top singles player Milos Raonic and Davis Cup stalwart Daniel Nestor for both ties in 2016. Canada was represented this year in Davis Cup by five players – Vasek Pospisil, Frank Dancevic, Philip Bester, Adil Shamasdin and Denis Shapovalov.
Great Britain recently returned to Davis Cup glory, capturing the title for the first time in 79 years in 2015. Led by world No. 2 and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in singles and doubles world. 4 Jamie Murray, the team also reached the semifinals this year, losing this past weekend to Argentina 3-2 in a fifth and deciding rubber.
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport. A total of 135 nations participated in 2016 and only the top 16 countries each year qualify for the World Group and play for the prestigious Davis Cup trophy.