Young Canucks see service in Davis

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

Martin Laurendeau gave Tennis Canada's future a good workout yesterday, then immediately turned the team's attention towards some clay days.

With a Davis Cup tie against Mexico already clinched Saturday, yesterday's reverse singles gave 17-year-old Vasik Pospisil and 19-year-old Peter Polansky more experience on the big stage.

But the next two months will be crucial if Canada hopes to defeat host Chile April 11-13 and make the World Group. That event will be on a clay surface, which is much slower than the Corral's hardcourt.

Polansky, who beat Cesar Ramirez 7-6 (8-6), 7-6(5) yesterday, will play three of his next four events on clay.

The team's anchors, Daniel Nestor and Frederic Niemeyer, will compete in several ATP events, but a key ingredient will be getting Frank Dancevic recovered from the back injury that sidelined him this weekend.

"We need him for that tie, so it's a priority," Laurendeau said.

"Chile will also have an incredible crowd. It's something to see. They have three guys ranked in the top 70, so they will be, for sure, favoured.

"Sometimes that puts you in a position where you can go for broke."

Once Dancevic returns, Pospisil will return to being a reserve player and hitting partner. He lost 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 yesterday to Bruno Rodriguez in the only rubber Canada lost to Mexico.

But Laurendeau is pleased with Pospisil's play, given this was first match with a vocal crowd. For Pospisil, whose parents also came in from Vernon, B.C. to watch, the experience should help him down the road.

"The atmosphere was awesome," he said. "I played better than I could have hoped. It was one of my best matches. But it's no fun losing."

Polansky had an outstanding weekend, beating Bruno Echagaray Friday night in straight sets and sweeping an abbreviated match yesterday. He will give the Canucks a decent option if Dancevic isn't healthy by April.

The Canadian team will meet in Key Biscayne, Fla., a week before the matchup with Chile, where nearly the entire group will play an ATP event.

"As soon as they are out, we will start training on clay about a mile down the road," said Laurendeau, who will continue with an aggressive style.

"We won't be that team from two metres behind the baseline, playing their game. We need to play to our strengths ... and we can beat them.

"This is a much stronger opponent, and they control the variables, but we will give it a shot."


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