OSIJEK, February 1, 2017
A depleted Croatian team will face Spain in the first round of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group, held at the Sportska Dvorana Gradski Vrt in Osijek, with all of the four members of the host squad being ranked outside the Top 200.
Franko Skugor, Nikola Mektic and Marin Draganja will be joined by Ante Pavic, who is making his first appearance at a Davis Cup tie. The current World No. 486 had a personal career high in 2014, ranked on 132nd position. It has also been Pavic’s best season so far when he qualified for the main draw of the French Open as well as in Wimbledon, where he made it to the second round. The 27-year-old also advanced to the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 event in Newport and finished runner-up at the ATP Challenger in Rimouski.
“It is a great honor to be part of the Croatian team in the Davis Cup. The atmosphere is great, all the guys are great. We had some excellent practice sessions and I am very satisfied with the last three days. We also got used to the surface. It will suit all of us,” told Pavic, who captured four titles on the ITF Pro Circuit.
Croatia is bidding to reach back-to-back quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and 2010. The nation is making its 15th World Group appearance but will be the underdogs against a strong Spanish team. The Iberians will miss Rafael Nadal, but are led by World No. 16 Roberto Bautista-Agut. The 28-year-old from Castellón will be joined by Pablo Carreno-Busta, Feliciano López and Marc López.
Spain is bidding to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012 and is making its first appearance in the World Group since 2014 after spending two years in Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
The draw ceremony is going to take place at the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek on Thursday at 12 pm local time.