The Davis Cup is making its return to Vancouver and UBC, with the potential for a star-studded tennis lineup.
Canada and Spain will meet in a Davis Cup World Group first-round tie at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre from Feb. 1-3, 2013, Tennis Canada announced at a press conference Monday.
The winner will meet either Croatia or Italy in the quarter-final round.
Spain, as of Monday, was the top-ranked nation in the Davis Cup standings, despite losing to the Czech Republic in the final the previous day.
It’s possible Spanish star Rafael Nadal – ranked fourth by the Association of Tennis Professionals and one of the most decorated players in the world with 11 grand slam titles – could compete in Vancouver, however he continues to battle a nagging knee injury.
The Canadian contingent will be named at a later date by team captain Martin Laurendeau.
This year’s team consisted of an aging champion and rising stars, including eight-time grand slam doubles winner Daniel Nestor, and 21-year-old Milos Raonic, now ranked 13th in the world.
Laurendeau hopes playing in front of the hometown crowd will give his underdog team a boost.
“It’s a world of difference. We’re very fortunate. This is our third tie in a row on home soil and it’s a tremendous advantage,” he told reporters at UBC.
“Obviously facing Spain in Spain would be much more complicated…We have to maximize our opportunities when we do play at home. We need to win and this time around is no different.
“We feel good about our chances against any team indoors.”
Three different cities – Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg – put in bids to host next year’s tournament.
“Ultimately, Vancouver was selected because we feel that this city and venue gives our team the best chance to win and because of the great support we received versus France earlier this year,” said Gavin Ziv, tournament director for Canada versus Spain and Tennis Canada’s director of national events.
This year’s competition was considered a massive success at the gate.
The event was completely sold out, and its popularity has led to an additional 1,400 seats being added for next year, which would increase the capacity to 6,400 spectators.
Tennis Canada has also been given a $100,000 hosting grant from the provincial government.