Davis Cup 2023: Colombia v Great Britain – GB may have to win ‘ugly’ in tricky qualifier

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Dan Evans
Great Britain were eliminated in the group stages of last year’s Finals in Glasgow
Colombia v Great Britain – Davis Cup
Dan Evans says it does not matter if Great Britain have to win “ugly” in their challenging Davis Cup qualifying match against Colombia in Bogota.

Leon Smith’s squad will have to contend with pressureless balls and an altitude of 2,566m as they attempt to secure a place in September’s group stage.

“It’s about getting the win here. It doesn’t matter how, if it’s pretty or ugly,” said British number two Evans.

“Just get a point on the board and hopefully we can win.”

Evans, Cameron Norrie, Jack Draper, Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury have been selected for 10-time winners GB, who will take to the clay on Friday and Saturday at the Pueblo Viejo Country Club.

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Victory would confirm them as one of the 16 group stage nations, from which eight teams progress to November’s Finals in Malaga.

Captain Smith said the trip to Colombia was “without doubt the most complicated tie we could have got” – and the pressureless balls required to cope with the altitude topped the reasons for the team arriving a week early to prepare.

“The ball is probably the main thing,” Smith said on Thursday. “Using a pressureless ball is something the players probably won’t use any other time in the year.”

According to Skupski, “it was difficult to breathe” for the first couple of days at altitude.

But he added the early arrival had given the players “the best possible chance to adapt”, with the likes of British number one Norrie travelling straight from the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Dan Evans
Dan Evans will play Davis Cup doubles for Great Britain for the first time
Evans, part of GB’s most recent triumph in 2015, faces a particularly intense couple of days as he contests two singles matches and one doubles rubber, having said last year that it was “a bit insulting” that he had not previously been selected for the latter.

World number 30 Evans gets the action under way on Friday when he plays the 253rd-ranked Nicolas Mejia, followed by Norrie’s match against Nicolas Barrientos.

On Saturday, Evans partners Skupski against former world number one doubles pair Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, before returning to action against Barrientos following Norrie’s tie with Mejia.

Conditions aside, the visitors are by far the stronger side on paper, with Colombia’s only singles player in the top 250 – number 81 Daniel Elahi Galan – withdrawing because of injury.
How does the Davis Cup work?
Dubbed the ‘men’s World Cup of tennis’, a record 155 nations entered this year’s Davis Cup, with matches contested across 60 countries.

Great Britain’s tie against Colombia is one of 11 qualifying matches taking place this week.

The matches are played as best-of-five rubbers, with each rubber decided in a best-of-three sets format.

The 12 qualifiers will advance to the group stage, to be held between 12-17 September across four venues.

They will be joined by last year’s winners Canada and runners-up Australia, plus two wildcard entries in Italy and Spain.

The 16 teams are split into four groups, with the top two from each advancing to the knockout Finals in Malaga from 21-26 November.

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