Tennis Canada has announced that Davis Cup by BNP Paribas will return to Vancouver for the first time in nearly 20 years when France are the visitors for next year’s World Group first round on 10-12 February.
Canada gained promotion back to Davis Cup’s top tier with a 3-2 away win over Israel in September and now they will host France at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, located at the University of British Columbia.
Canada played two ties in Vancouver in 1992, against Sweden and Austria, but haven’t returned to the city since, and captain Martin Laurendeau is excited about bringing Davis Cup back to a place that holds so many fond memories for the Canadian team.
“Canada’s return to Vancouver for Davis Cup is long overdue,” said Laurendeau. “Vancouver has been the site of many amazing Davis Cup moments for Canada, including Nestor’s big upset over Stefan Edberg in 1992.
"With our return to the World Group and a difficult match-up against France, it makes sense that we go back to a place that has inspired us to be at our best in the past. The entire team is extremely excited about this tie.”
This will be the first time that Davis Cup is being played at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, home of the UBC Thunderbirds ice hockey team. The indoor arena has 5,033 permanent seats and a further 1,800 temporary seats, although the capacity for this Davis Cup tie is still to be confirmed.
Opened in 2008, the multi-purpose venue has held a range of events, from sport and concerts to gala dinners and tradeshows. During the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it was used for ice hockey and sledge hockey matches.
“The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and the University of British Columbia are proud to have been selected as the host for this extremely important Davis Cup event,” said Kavie Toor, Associate Director, UBC Athletics and Recreation, Facilities and Business Development.
“We are ready to rise to the occasion and help put on a first-class event for Canadian and international tennis fans, players and sponsors.”
Laurendeau won’t announce his line-up to face France until closer to the tie, but after three away victories in 2011 he has a wide squad to select from. Among those players is world No. 31 Milos Raonic, doubles specialist Daniel Nestor and Vancouver resident Vasek Pospisil.
“After a long year on the road, it is amazing that the team will finally be able to play at home in Canada again,” said Pospisil, the only player to compete in all three 2011 ties.
“It is especially exciting for me as Vancouver is my home town. I know from my past experiences playing there that the Vancouver fans are passionate about supporting their own and we are hoping that those large and noisy crowds come out to cheer us on in February.”
Despite being on away soil, France will enter the tie as favourites with team captain Guy Forget possessing a wealth of talent at his disposal. There are currently four French players ranked inside the world’s Top 100, led by the talented Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tickets prices start at $20 and they go on sale on 1 December through Ticketmaster - see details below.
The deadline for nations to submit their Davis Cup venues for next year’s World Group first round is on 22 November.