It may only be January, but Ottawa is already gearing up for some big sporting events. From February 3-5, some of the best male tennis players in the world will be in town when The Arena at TD Place hosts the Davis Cup World Group first-round series between Canada and defending champions Great Britain.
The Davis Cup is an annual tournament that pits countries from around the world against each other. The best-of-five format includes four singles matches and one doubles match. Team Canada qualified for the World Groups back in September when they defeated Chile 3-0. Think of the Davis Cup World Groups as the ‘World Cup of Tennis’. This is the sixth straight year that Canada has qualified for the World Groups stage. Canada goes into this years Davis Cup ranked 12th in the world. Great Britain hold the top spot.
With so much happening in the first few months of Ottawa’s calendar, like the Juno Awards and Red Bull Crashed Ice, the Davis Cup risks getting overlooked. But qualifying is a big deal, and it’s a rare treat for Ottawa to host.
Officially called the ‘Davis Cup by BNP Paribas,’ it’s the largest annual international team competition in all of sport, with more than 135 nations competing on annual basis. Only 16 countries entered in Davis Cup competition qualify for the World Groups each year.
This is the first time TD Place will host a tennis event, and the series will be played on indoor hard courts.
“It’s been more than two decades since Davis Cup has been held in Ottawa and the timing is right now to bring it back,” said Gavin Ziv, vice-president, professional events, Tennis Canada. “Playing Great Britain in the nation’s capital during the Canada 150 celebration year presented a perfect opportunity and we could not be more excited about it.”
The last time Ottawa hosted a Davis Cup match-up was in 1994, at the Ottawa Athletic Centre against Jamaica.
Though the team lineups have not yet been announced, Ottawans may have the chance to see a match between world No.1 Andy Murray and No.3 Milos Raonic. Both players would obviously be key to their teams success.
In addition, Andy’s brother Jamie Murray and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil are among the highest ranked doubles players in the world and both are expected to be named to their respective teams. Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau will name his team 10 days before the event.
“We are really excited to be making a long overdue return to Ottawa for Davis Cup,” said Laurendeau. “We are always at our best when we play at home in front of loud, patriotic crowds and that is exactly what we will need here to defeat a strong team from Great Britain. This will be the first time many of our guys will play in this city and we are really looking forward to introducing a new generation of tennis fans to the passion and excitement that is Davis Cup.”
The winner of the series will move on to the World Group quarter-finals, while the losing nation will be forced to play a World Group play-off series to keep their spot in the elite level for 2018.
“Tie” – the word for the series of 5 matches that make up each round of the Davis Cup.
“Rubber” – the tennis word for each match in the tie.
So if Canada wins 3 of the 5 rubbers, they win the tie! Tennis is a funny sport.
The general line-up of the series (or “tie”) will look like this:
Friday, February 3
3 p.m. – Two singles matches (order to be determined at the draw):
Canada’s No. 1 singles player vs. Great Britain’s No. 2 singles player
Canada’s No. 2 singles player vs. Great Britain’s No. 1 singles player
Saturday, February 4
1 p.m. – One doubles match
Sunday, February 5
12 p.m. – Two singles matches:
Canada’s No. 1 singles player vs. Great Britain’s No. 1 singles player
Canada’s No. 2 singles player vs. Great Britain’s No. 2 singles player
*times subject to change
Single day tickets start at $25 and range up to $110. They are available for purchase online at TDPlace.ca, by phone at 1-877-489-2849, or in person at the box office at TD Place.