It is somewhat surprising that Great Britain and Russia have only met on one previous occasion and that came back in 1963 when the latter was playing under the flag of the Soviet Union. Britain won the tie on that occasion at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne by a 4-1 scoreline with Mike Sangster involved in three winning rubbers.
British hopes of a return to the World Group were lifted last year after a victory against Slovak Republic decided in the fifth rubber with victory from Daniel Evans. They were quickly quashed in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I semifinals where Belgium surrendered only the doubles on their way to victory.
Russia are returning to zonal action for the first time in 20 years after suffering their heaviest defeat for a decade at the hands of Brazil in the World Group play-offs. They had earlier lost to Austria in the first round and will now look to make an immediate return but have to win away from home – something they have not achieved since 2009.
The loser of this tie will have to wait for the outcome of South Africa v Poland before finding out their next opponent. If South Africa wins, the loser of this tie will play Slovenia in the 2nd Round play-off on 13-15 September. If Poland wins, South Africa will play Slovenia in the 1st Round Play-off on 13-15 September. The loser of that tie will play the loser of Great Britain v Russia in the 2nd Round play-off on 18-20 October.