Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Will Take on Japan in First Round of 2014 Davis Cup

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Will Take on Japan in First Round of 2014 Davis Cup

Article excerpt

Canada to play Japan in 2014 Davis Cup


Canada pulled off a number of upsets on the way to a surprise appearance in the Davis Cup semifinals last weekend in Serbia.

It was an incredible run that captain Martin Laurendeau feels was actually put in motion with a loss back in February 2012, when Canada dropped a 4-1 decision to a French side anchored by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"What I liked was the way our guys responded and rebounded from that," Laurendeau said Wednesday on a conference call. "France is very deep, has a great tradition at Davis Cup. It really helped us as a reference point, just a way to approach the competition as a team.

"I think it reinforced the bond and the team chemistry with the guys."

Canada bounced back later in the year with a solid 4-1 victory over South Africa at Montreal's Uniprix Stadium, with singles star Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., leading the way with a pair of victories.

The win kept Canada's spot in the World Group and helped instil a feeling that the team belonged at the top level. Over the three ties that followed, the Canadians went out and proved it.

The breakthrough season began with a first-round upset over top-ranked Spain in Vancouver. The Canadians returned to the indoor hardcourt at the Thunderbird Sports Centre two months later for an impressive quarter-final win over Italy.

Canada then hit the road and pushed a powerhouse Serbian side the distance in front of a raucous crowd at the Belgrade Arena. Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil turned in a game performance in the fifth and deciding match on the indoor clay before falling to Janko Tipsarevic.

It was a captivating weekend with plenty of drama and two five-set marathon victories for Canada. The effort should provide a tremendous building block for the 2014 Davis Cup, starting with a World Group first-round tie at Japan on Jan. 31-Feb. 2.

"When you go through a Davis Cup weekend like we did against Spain, Italy and now Serbia, it really prepares you for the toughest experience you can go through," Laurendeau said. "So after that, you always feel like you can tackle anything that comes at you and I think the guys have handled that really well. …

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