Denis Shapovalov leads Canadian Davis Cup team against Croatia
Raonic excluded from lineup, Nestor to make 52nd tie
Rising singles star Denis Shapovalov headlines the Canadian lineup for the team's upcoming Davis Cup World Group first-round tie against Croatia.
Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., will be joined by Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil, Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., and Toronto's Daniel Nestor at the Feb. 2-4 competition on indoor clay at the Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt in Osijek.
"Although we have been in the World Group since 2012, we want to demonstrate that we are a country which aspires to contend for the trophy in the near future," team captain Frank Dancevic said Tuesday in a release. "This will be our goal while we compete against a difficult opponent in Croatia and play on the road.
"Our team will concentrate on our preparation for the tie in the coming days and we will be ready to leave it all on the court to cause an upset and get the win against the 2016 Davis Cup finalists."
Raonic absent from lineup
Notably absent from the Canadian lineup was Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., Canada's top-ranked singles player at No. 23 in the world. He has had a variety of injuries in recent months and was recently ousted in the first round of the Australian Open.
Croatia's lineup includes world No. 6 Marin Cilic, No. 46 Borna Coric, No. 179 Viktor Galovic, along with fifth-ranked doubles player Ivan Dodig and No. 41 Franko Skugor.
The 18-year-old Shapovalov shot to prominence last season with a number of victories over big-name players. He holds the No. 50 position in the world rankings, well ahead of Pospisil (No. 105) and Polansky (No. 139).
Another tie for Nestor
Nestor, a former world No. 1 in doubles, is currently ranked 55th. He'll be playing in his 52nd Davis Cup tie since his debut in 1992.
Nestor holds several team records, including most years of participation (25), highest number of matches played (51) and most wins (48).
Croatia is fifth in the Davis Cup rankings, 10 positions higher than Canada. It's the first time the two countries have met in Davis Cup competition.
The winner of the best-of-five tie will advance to the quarter-finals while the loser will fall into a playoff to maintain its place in the World Group for 2019.
The official draw is set for Feb. 1.