A battle of tennis heavyweights could headline the return of Davis Cup tennis to Ottawa.
Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that TD Place would be the host site for the World Group tie against Britain in early February.
If all goes according to plan, the tie will see Britain’s Andy Murray, the top ranked men’s player in the world, go head-to-head with Canadian star Milos Raonic. Captain Martin Laurendeau says he expects world No. 4 Raonic to be available along with Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor for the 12th-ranked Canadians.
“It’s still early in the season and guys traditionally want to get a lot of matches under their belt to get a good start into their year,” Laurendeau said. “I’m sure (Raonic) is looking at this as a great place to get back to have another crack at (Murray). I expect (Murray) to be here as he’s been around Davis Cup for a long time.
“It’s a Davis Cup to get excited about because it will feature a lot of great tennis.”
Britain, the defending Davis Cup champion, is ranked No. 1.
The matches will be played on an indoor hard court and will mark the first time tennis is held at TD Place. The Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s agreed to alter their schedule to accommodate the event.
TD Place was seen as an ideal venue for its intimate setting and vibrant crowd.
“Finding a hockey arena in February is tough, but it’s been very beneficial to our success in the past,” said Laurendeau.
Nestor, who was on hand for the announcement, is hopeful that sports fans in addition to tennis enthusiasts will take in the event.
“We want Redblacks type support,” said Nestor. “We don’t want the typical tennis crowd that’s polite, we want boisterous and obnoxious and rude to our opponents. We really look forward to that atmosphere and strive in it lately.”
The 44-year-old Nestor played in the last Davis Cup tie held in Ottawa in 1994 and has fond memories of the 5-0 victory over Jamaica, but certainly expects a much tougher match-up against Britain.
Canada and Britain have only faced one another once in the history of the Davis Cup, when Britain posted a 4-1 victory in England in 1967.
The four-man Canadian team will be named in the weeks leading up to the event.
The winner of the event will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and be assured a spot in the World Group the following year. Canada advanced to the quarter-finals in 2015.Report Typo/Error