New Delhi: India will take on Serbia at home in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs to be held from September 12 to 14, raising the possibility of six-time Grand Slam winner and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic touching down in the country.
Bogdan Obradovic-led Serbia will face India for the second time in three years in a bid to maintain their World Group status, having defeated India 4-1 on their most recent foray into the top tier of the competition in the first round in 2011.
The Indian Davis Cup team on Sunday entered the World Group play-offs after notching up a historic away triumph over Korea in the Group I Asia/Oceania second round tie at Busan.
Serbia, who lost 2-3 to Switzerland in the World Group first round in February, have not featured in the zonal competition since 2007, the year they defeated Australia in the World Group play-offs to secure top tier status for the first time. They will be desperate to avoid a return to Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
Meanwhile, Spain and Argentina also face a fight to remain in the World Group following Tuesday’s draw, with Carlos Moya’s five-time champions needing to come away with a win in Brazil and four-time runner-up Argentina due to travel to Israel. Australia, Canada and USA have been handed more favourable home draws, with Pat Rafter’s men hosting Uzbekistan, USA taking on Slovak Republic and Canada granted a home tie against Colombia.
The remaining two ties will see Croatia travel to the Netherlands in a draw decided by lot, and Ukraine set to host Belgium. The top 3 seeds in Tuesday’s draw in particular will have plenty to think about in advance of September's semi-finals as they seek to avoid an upset.
Obradovic’s men, who lost 3-2 to Switzerland in the World Group first round in February, has not featured in zonal competition since 2007. They had then defeated Australia in the World Group play-offs to secure top-tier status for the first time, and will be desperate to avoid a return to Europe/Africa Zone Group I.
Moya’s Spain have dominated Davis Cup over the past decade and a half, with five titles since 2000, but will have to defeat Brazil to avoid dropping into zonal competition for the first time since 1996.
The two nations have not crossed paths since 1999, when Gustavo Kuerten inspired Brazil to a 3-2 victory, and a Brazilian side boasting the likes of Thomaz Bellucci and doubles specialists Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares have good reason to be confident of springing an upset at home.
Argentina, defeated by this year’s semi-finalist Italy in the World Group first round, travel to Israel for the first time. The Argentine team won both of the previous two meetings between the two nations — in 1958 and 1990 — without losing so much as a rubber, but the match-up is sure to provide a far greater test on away soil.
Canada will play at home for the fifth time in seven Davis Cup ties when they meet Colombia for the 10th time. Colombia has won two of the last three clashes between the two nations but has never won on Canadian soil. (Agencies)