The last time Frank Dancevic played Davis Cup tennis in Calgary, he was ranked 207th in the world and carried Canada to the World Group on his 18-year-old shoulders.
Four years later, Dancevic is ranked 96th on the ATP Tour and he's the bona fide singles leader on a squad trying to scratch its way back into that exclusive World Group for the first time since 2003.
Dancevic, Toronto's Daniel Nestor, Fred Niemeyer of Deauville, Que., and Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., will take on Colombia in a best-of-five Davis Cup tie starting today at the Corral with two singles matches, including Dancevic taking on Santiago Giraldo and Niemeyer facing Alejandro Falla.
And Dancevic has nothing but wonderful memories from the times he's played in Calgary, especially in 2003 when he upset Brazil's Flavio Saretta and helped Canada advance to the World Group for the first time in more than a decade.
"That match alone helped me out tremendously in future matches. That was a great experience for me and I've got a few more wins under my belt after that match," said Dancevic with a smile yesterday at City Hall, where the draw for this weekend's tie was held.
"That day was a really, really fun time for me and an unbelievable moment."
Dancevic has been playing decent tennis after downing Victor Hanescu of Romania in straight sets at the Australian Open last month to earn an opening-round win at a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
For the task at hand, Canada faces Colombia with the confidence it has never lost in Calgary, going 3-0 on the hard rubber surface at the creaky Corral.
Dancevic has never played Giraldo and plans on going with the flow on the court.
"I've heard he's ranked 160 and he's only 19 years old, so anybody ranked that high that quickly is a player," said Dancevic, who is 8-10 in Davis Cup action since becoming a team member in 2002.
"I've got to show him respect out there."
Tomorrow's third match (3 p.m.) will be doubles contest between Nestor and Niemeyer and Colombia's Falla and Carlos Salamanca. Then on Sunday, there are two singles matches with Dancevic scheduled to play Falla (noon) and Niemeyer against Giraldo.
Nestor believes the Colombians are in tough in Calgary.
"We have a pretty big home court advantage over those guys and hopefully it'll be a factor," said Nestor, a 14-year Davis Cup veteran. "On this court, I like any matchup but it'll come down to a couple of shots here and there."
A win for Canada would secure a spot in the second round of America's Zone Group 1 against Brazil in April.