Team Canada is just days away from commencing its 2015 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas season. In honour of Canada’s much-anticipated World Group first-round tie against Japan from March 6-8 in Vancouver, we are looking back at five of the top moments in Canadian Davis Cup history.
FIVE – Canada makes the 1913 semifinals
In its first year of Davis Cup participation, Canada made it all the way to the semifinals – a mark that would hold as its best-ever result for a century. The squad, featuring just two players in Bernard Schwengers and Robert Powell, defeated South Africa 4-1 and Belgium 4-0 to open its Davis Cup schedule. Their run ended just one round before the final with a 3-0 loss to the United States.
FOUR – Frank Dancevic leads Canada to 2004 World Group
Competing in the 2003 World Group play-offs against Brazil, Canada was looking for its first berth in the top group since 1992. A 19-year-old Frank Dancevic became the hero as he was called upon to face Flavio Saretta in the fifth rubber with the tie even at two matches apiece. He pulled off the win 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(7) in front of an admiring home crowd in Calgary. The triumph, which promoted Canada into the 2004 World Group, remains one of Dancevic’s biggest Davis Cup wins.
THREE – Daniel Nestor beats Stefan Edberg in Canada’s near-upset of Sweden in 1992
When a scrawny, 19-year-old Daniel Nestor first took the court against world No. 1 Stefan Edberg in the 1992 Davis Cup World Group first round – in his first Davis Cup match ever – nobody could have predicted he would ultimately become the most important Canadian Davis Cup player ever. But Nestor showed just how Davis Cup can bring the best out in players by upsetting Edberg 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in his debut. Ranked world No. 239 at the time, the win gave Canada a 2-0 lead in the tie. Though they were unable to complete the upset, it was an impressive performance from the man who is still suiting up for team Canada – 2015 will mark Nestor’s 23rd year playing Davis Cup for Canada.
TWO – Canada defeats Israel to make 2012 World Group
Canada’s current Davis Cup success would not be possible without its incredible 2011 run to the World Group. Two zonal away wins in Mexico and Ecuador culminated in a World Group play-off in yet another foreign location – Israel. With Milos Raonic still recovering from hip surgery, Vasek Pospisil stepped up his role in a huge way. He nearly single-handedly defeated the Israeli team in one of his most impressive performances yet. He won both of his singles matches – including the deciding fifth rubber over tough competitor Amir Weintraub – plus the doubles alongside Nestor to lead Canada to the 3-2 win and a spot in the World Group for the first time since 2004.
ONE – Canada advances to 2013 semifinals for best season ever
It was a season for the ages. Entering the year without ever having won a World Group tie, Canada would advance all the way into the semifinals in what is one of the best Canadian tennis memories in history. It started with a 3-2 defeat over Spain in the first round in Vancouver. Raonic won both of his singles matches and was helped by an in-the-zone Dancevic, who tore through Marcel Granollers with a barrage of remarkable shots for one of his biggest career victories. Against Italy in the quarter-finals, Raonic again took care of business by capturing his two matches, including the clinching fourth rubber. This time the third point came courtesy of Nestor and Pospisil, who won a nail-biting five-setter for the swing point. Though Canada was ultimately ousted in the semifinals by Serbia, more memories were created in Belgrade. Before falling at the hands of the Serbs, Canada took a 2-1 lead into the final day thanks to hard-fought, extra-inning wins by Raonic over Janko Tipsarevic and Nestor and Pospisil over Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac. Overall, it was a result for all Canadians to be proud of and a sign that Canada was becoming a true player on the international tennis scene.