Re: World Group play off draw on Tuesday May 3rd
7 of those 16 nations played at the same stage last year:
Czech Republic, Austria, Chile - won last year but lost in WG 1st round.
Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany - lost last year and came through the zonal groups.
Czech Republic aim to retain its unique record of being the only nation that played in the world group since its introduction in 1981 and never lost a play-off tie. This is the 3rd year in a row that the Czechs lose their 1st round tie.
Austria will try to extend its current streak of WG appearances to 3 years, while Chile, that won promotion to the WG last year after absence of 19 years, will hope to make it 2 years in a row - an acievement they made once in their history, back in 1983.
Spain, the reigning champion, will hope to avoid the fate of France in 1997 and Sweden in 1999, who were relegated from the world group a year after winning the trophy. The Spaniards played lately in the WG play-off in 2002, also a year after winning the cup, and succesfully retained their WG status.
USA, the losing finalist, also find itself in the play off a year later. This is the 3rd time in WG history (and 4th in the entire history of Davis Cup) that both finalists lost their 1st tie the following year. On the previous 2 occasions - one of the finalists lost in the play-off and went from DC final to zonal group in one year. Those 2 were Switzerland in 1993 (lost to USA in 1992 final) and Sweden in 1999. One other finalist that lost its WG status a year later was India in 1989.
USA will try to avoid relegation from the WG for the 2nd time in history, and extend its streak to 18 years, the 2nd longest ongoing streak after Czech Republic.
Switzerland will extend its streak to 12 years if they win the play off tie in September.
Sweden is another regular member of DC elite group. Like USA and Australia it was absent from the WG only one year since the 16-team format was introduced in 1981. This is the 1st time in 5 years that Sweden play in the WG play off, and only the 5th time in its history - the fewest of the leading nations.
The remaining 1st round loser is Belarus, who made a remarkable WG debut in 2004 by reaching the semifinal.
Winner: 2006 - Acapulco, Portschach, 2005 - Marseille, Valencia, Bastad, Paris Bercy, 2004 - Kitzbuhel
Runner-up: 2005 - Doha, Estoril, 2004 - Indian Wells, Hamburg, Halle, Paris Bercy
Semifinal: 2004 - Houston, Casablanca, Nottingham, Stuttgart, Cincinnati
Last edited by nitsansh; 05-02-2005 at 03:41 PM.