Dancevic’s Magic Makes the Davis Cup Difference

Al Dannity | Updated Feb 04, 2013


Milos Raonic was the star but Al Dannity was mesmerised by the performance of Canada’s other singles player in a famous Davis Cup victory over Spain.

The stars weren’t there but this was still a formidable Spanish line-up. The task was simple. Lean on Milos Raonic to win both of his singles rubbers and find a way to somehow pull off a massive upset in one of the other three matches. Canada got the shock it needed but it came from a most unlikely source and in an even more improbable manner.

As expected, Canada took the early lead in the tie. With Milos Raonic taking out Albert Ramos in four sets, the spotlight switched to Frank Dancevic. Prior to Friday, the world #166 had the classic history of a journeyman. Never going beyond the second round of a grand slam event, Dancevic’s biggest claim to fame was becoming the first man to come through the qualifiers to make the main draw of all four slams in a single season. Unsurprisingly, the Niagara Falls, Ont. player went out at the first hurdle in all four. Dancevic, it was safe to say, was not expected to be the source of any shock, least of all against world #34 Marcel Granollers.

Clearly nobody bothered to inform Dancevic as he came with all the fury of the Ultimate Warrior. The result however was far too implausible for even the minds of WWE. This was nothing short of a beat-down. Dancevic beat Granollers like a rag doll over three sets, 6-1 6-2 6-2. Even now, days after the event, I can’t make sense of it. It was like Dancevic stored up every ounce of Tennis talent he had for this one moment and the Spaniard was his unfortunate victim.

Canada came close to wrapping up the match in Saturday’s doubles but Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil came up just short in a five set thriller with Granollers and Marc Lopez. It was only delaying the inevitable. Raonic stepped on court for Sunday’s first match and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets. The job was done. Spain now face a relegation playoff at the end of the season while Canada’s place in the World Group is secure for another year. Now it’s time to start dreaming of what might be.

Italy will visit in April for the quarter-final stage, a tough but certainly winnable match-up. Should Canada keep the dream alive through one more round, they would seal a glamorous match-up with either Serbia or the USA. On Friday this was all a pipe-dream. Frank Dancevic played a big part in making it a reality.