Japan are making their first appearance in the World Group since 1985, while Croatia have spent nine of the last ten years in the Davis Cup’s top division. The two nations have never previously met.
Japan gained promotion last season after wins over Philippines, Uzbekistan and India. They benefitted from playing at home in the latter two of these ties, and they will be hoping to make home advantage count again when Croatia are the visitors. The Japanese team have selected to play the tie on an indoor hard court at the Bourbon Beans Dome in Hyogo, the same venue as their victory over Uzbekistan.
Croatia’s last defeat on away soil was in 2007, against Great Britain, although since that loss they have only played one further away tie. That was their most recent outing against South Africa in last year’s World Group play-offs, which they won 4-1 in Potchefstroom, near Johannesburg. After the clash with GB they hosted eight straight home ties.