Davis Cup: What next for Australia?
UPDATE: After beating Uzbekistan, Australia now faces an even bigger task as it attempts to return to the Davis Cup World Group for the first time since 2007.
After seeing off Uzbekistan’s challenge in the second round of the Davis Cup’s Asia/Oceania zonal group, Australia now faces an even bigger task as it attempts to return to the World Group for the first time since 2007.
By advancing to the World Group play-off stage for the fifth time in six years, the green-and-gold will next face one of eight nations, with a win vaulting them back inside the elite 16-nation group for 2014.
That list of eight losing nations is a mighty impressive one.
Seeded sixth for the World Group Play-offs, Australia will be drawn to play one of either Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Great Britain, Israel, Netherlands, Poland or Ukraine, all unseeded nations for this stage of the Davis Cup competition.
Ties against either Ecuador or Great Britain would be staged away, while against Brazil it would be played on Australian soil. A coin toss would be required to determine the choice of ground for ties against either Colombia, Israel, Netherlands, Poland or Ukraine.
The World Group play-offs draw will take place on Wednesday at 11am at the ITF offices in London (8pm AEST).
As a seeded country – seedings are based on the new ITF Davis Cup Nations Ranking, as of 8 April 2013 – Australia thankfully avoids competition powerhouse Spain, the top seeds who were sensationally upset by Canada in the opening round of the competition back in February.
The Aussies also avoid other seeds and World Group first round losers Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Japan.
Belgium, Switzerland and Germany have each stopped Australia at the World Group Play-off stage, in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Australian Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter told AAP that Australia’s recent history of falling at the final World Group entry hurdle was a strong motivator for the team.
“No-one wants to be here (in this zone group),” he said.
“We want to get out.”