If Canada is to defeat Spain at Davis Cup this weekend, it well may come down to Frank Dancevic, a 28-year-old journeyman from Niagara Falls, Ont., who is the No. 166-ranked singles player in the world.
The draw was unveiled Thursday and Canada's Milos Raonic, No. 15 in the world, will play in singles first on Friday against Albert Ramos, ranked No. 51 and a Davis Cup rookie called to duty for the depleted Spanish side. Marcel Granollers, No. 34, then will play Dancevic. Come Saturday, the Canadian doubles pair, Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil, will play powerhouse doubles pair Granollers and Marc Lopez.
On Sunday, Raonic will play Granollers first, then it will be Dancevic against Ramos.
With the best-of-five format, and five-set matches, Canada needs Raonic to win both his matches. Canada is an underdog in the doubles match, which leaves overall victory on the shoulders of Dancevic, whose best chance comes in Canada's last chance Sunday afternoon. He was once ranked as high as No. 65, in 2007. Nine years ago, as a teenager, he conjured the crucial, final win in singles against Brazil to lift Canada to the world group for only the second time. This weekend's tie against Spain marks Canada's fourth world group appearance. In its third world group appearance, last year against France, Dancevic lost after Raonic pulled out due to injury. Still, Dancevic is 10-4 in Davis Cup singles on hard-court.
"I'm feeling pretty confident about my game," Dancevic said Thursday.