Tennis Canada announced Tuesday that the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver will be the host site for the upcoming Davis Cup World Group first-round tie between Canada and France. The event will take place from February 10-12, 2012.
“Canada’s return to Vancouver for Davis Cup is long overdue,” said Canadian Davis Cup team captain Martin Laurendeau. “Vancouver has been the site of many amazing Davis Cup moments for Canada, including Nestor’s big upset over Stefan Edberg in 1992. With our return to the World Group and a difficult match-up against France, it makes sense that we go back to a place that has inspired us to be at our best in the past. The entire team is extremely excited about this tie.”
Matches will be played on an indoor hard court and will be the first ever tennis event held at the venue. The last Davis Cup tie contested in Vancouver was nearly 20 years ago where Canada fell to Austria 1-3 in a World Group play-off held at the Hollyburn Country Club in September 1992. The last time Canada played in British Columbia was a 3-2 victory over Ecuador at the Memorial Arena in Victoria in September 1995.
“The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and the University of British Columbia are proud to have been selected as the host for this extremely important Davis Cup event,” said Kavie Toor, Associate Director, UBC Athletics and Recreation, Facilities and Business Development. “We are ready to rise to the occasion and help put on a first-class event for Canadian and international tennis fans, players and sponsors.”
The four Canadian Davis Cup team members to face France will be selected by Laurendeau at a later date. The 2011 team members included multiple Canadian Davis Cup record holder and seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Daniel Nestor (Toronto), breakout star and Top 30 singles player Milos Raonic (Thornhill, Ontario), Davis Cup stalwarts Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, Ontario) and Peter Polansky (Thornhill, Ontario), along with local British Columbia players and 2011 Davis Cup heroes Philip Bester (North Vancouver) and Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver). The 2011 squad won three road ties against Mexico, Ecuador and Israel to advance Canada to the World Group for the first time since 2004.
“After a long year on the road, it is amazing that the team will finally be able to play at home in Canada again,” said Pospisil, the only player to compete at all three 2011 ties. “It is especially exciting for me as Vancouver is my home town. I know from my past experiences playing there that the Vancouver fans are passionate about supporting their own and we are hoping that those large and noisy crowds come out to cheer us on in February.”
France is the seeded team with a Davis Cup world ranking of No. 4. They were also the Davis Cup runner-ups in 2010 falling to Serbia in the final. Canada is ranked No. 14 in the world. France holds a 1-0 advantage over Canada with the only meeting between the two teams being a 5-0 French victory in 1966.
The winner of this tie in February will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and will also be assured to keep their spot in the World Group for the following year. The losing nation will be forced to play a World Group play-off tie to keep their spot in the elite level for 2013.
Davis Cup is the largest annual international team competition in sport with more than 130 nations competing. Only 16 countries entered in Davis Cup competition qualify for the World Group each year.