Tennis Canada announced on Tuesday that Denis Shapovalov (Richmond Hill, ON), Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC), Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) and Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON) were selected by the new Davis Cup captain Frank Dancevic to face Croatia in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first round tie, which will take place from February 2 to 4, at the Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt, in Osijek.
“Although we have been in the World Group since 2012, we want to demonstrate that we are a country which aspires to contend for the trophy in the near future. This will be our goal while we compete against a difficult opponent in Croatia and play on the road,” stated Dancevic. “Our team will concentrate on our preparation for the tie in the coming days and we will be ready to leave it all on the court to cause an upset and get the win against the 2016 Davis Cup finalists.”
Team Croatia and captain Zeljko Krajan have named world No. 6 Marin Cilic, No. 46 Borna Coric, No. 179 Viktor Galovic, doubles world No. 5 Ivan Dodig and No. 41 Franko Skugor to its team.
Shapovalov will be taking part in his fourth Davis Cup tie. At only 18 years of age, he recently reached the second round at the Australian Open where he lost a close five-set match to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. In his second Grand Slam main draw appearance, in New York last September, he reached the fourth round after experiencing his breakthrough at Rogers Cup in Montreal, where he made a deep run to the semi-finals. Currently ranked world no. 50, he secured two victories against India in the Davis Cup World Group play-off last fall, which allowed Canada to conserve its place among the Top 16 teams.
Pospisil has been a pillar on the Canadian team in recent years, notably earning two singles wins against Great Britain in February 2017, after having led Canada to victory in a play-off against Chili in September 2016. The 27-year-old holds a record of 27 wins and 14 losses in Davis Cup and has been a member of the team since 2011. This year, Pospisil, who is currently ranked world no. 105, won all three of his qualifying matches in Melbourne before falling to Marin Cilic in four sets in the first round.
Polansky will be participating in Davis Cup for the 12th time. The 29-year-old Ontario native was a member of the team when Canada faced Great Britain last year, but did not play in any of the matches. His last Davis Cup participation dates back to 2014 against Japan, where he lost both of his singles matches. Polansky is currently ranked world no. 139.
Nestor, the most loyal member in Canadian Davis Cup history, will be playing in his 52nd tie since his debut in 1992. He holds several team records, including the most years of participation (25), the highest number of matches played (51) and the most wins (48). Nestor, who celebrated his 45th birthday in 2017, is currently ranked world no. 55 in doubles.
Canada will face Croatia for the first time in Davis Cup history. Croatia will be the seeded nation in the upcoming tie by virtue of its rank of no. 5 in the Davis Cup rankings – Canada is 15th. The winner of this tie will advance to the quarter-finals while the loser will have to take part in a play-off to maintain their place in the World Group for 2019.
The Canadian team has been part of the World Group since 2012, having reached the semi-finals in 2013 and the quarter-finals in 2015.
In their World Group play-off tie, Croatia was represented by Marin Cilic, Viktor Galovic, Franko Skugor and Nicola Mektic.
Friday, February 2, starting at 2:00 pm, local time (8:00 am ET)
Two singles matches
Player 1 from Canada vs. Player 2 from Croatia
Player 2 from Canada vs. Player 1 from Croatia
Saturday, February 3, starting at 2:00 pm, local time (8:00 am ET)
One doubles match
Sunday, February 4, starting at 2:00 pm, local time (8:00 am ET)
Two singles matches
Player 1 from Canada vs. Player 1 from Croatia
Player 2 from Canada vs. Player 2 from Croatia
*The official draw on February 1 will determine the weekend match-ups. All matches are best-of-five sets. If the tie has already been decided before the final day, only one best-of-three sets match will be played.