Ottawa will play host next year to Canada's first-round Davis Cup match-up against Great Britain, officials announced at a news conference today.
Davis Cup captain Martin Laurendeau and 44-year-old Daniel Nestor, an eight-time grand slam winner in men's doubles and a member of Canada's Davis Cup team since 1992, were among the officials who announced Wednesday that the matches between the two countries would be held at TD Place in February 2017.
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"It's difficult to not get excited about Davis Cup. It's all about passion and pride," Laurendeau told reporters.
The Davis Cup is an annual tournament that pits countries from across the world against each other. The best-of-five format includes four singles matches and one doubles match.
Canada will be facing defending champions Great Britain in the 2017 Davis Cup World Group, which features the world's top 16 teams.
That means local tennis fans could end up seeing world No. 1 Andy Murray take on big-serving Milos Raonic — but only if they choose to be part of their respective countries' squads, since participation isn't mandatory.
The last time Ottawa hosted a Davis Cup match-up was in 1994, at the Ottawa Athletic Centre against Jamaica. Next February's event is expected to draw a significantly larger crowd, with capacity for the three-day event to be capped at between 7,000 and 8,000 people.
The matches will be played on indoor hard courts.
"We're not expecting to beat Andy on the first day. That's going to be very difficult," said Nestor, referencing the fact that Murray would likely be playing a lower-ranked Canadian player — perhaps Vasek Pospisil, currently ranked 134th in the world.
"But if we're able to get one win [from Raonic] on Friday, and then win the doubles, and then hopefully be up two to one on Sunday — that's ideal."
The Davis Cup matches are just the latest major event coming to Ottawa in 2017 for Canada's 150th birthday — a lineup that already includes the Juno Awards, the Red Bull Crashed Ice championships, and the 105th Grey Cup.
Coun. David Chernushenko, whose ward includes TD Place and the surrounding neighbourhood, said he didn't think the tennis tournament would be overshadowed by everything else going on.
"[People] will come out to any great match, a national team playing another national team, a big event," he said. "They'll be there just because it's the place to be — and it's exciting.
Tickets are expected to go on sale on Nov. 25. The matches are scheduled for Feb. 3 to 5.