|Daniel Nestor serves up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stanislas Wawrinka during the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Que., Aug. 12, 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI Agency)
VANCOUVER - The hairstyles and shirt colours may be different, but the pressure surrounding the return of the Davis Cup matches to Vancouver is very much the same as in 1992.
Twenty years ago, Canada pushed favoured Sweden to the brink in these matches that pit countries against each other in a best-of-five series. Daniel Nestor, a youngster back then, beat world No. 1 Stefan Edberg, before the Swedes rallied to edge Canada 3-2.
This week, Nestor, 39, is preparing to take on France in Davis Cup play at Thunderbird Arena on the University of B.C. campus.
"It's pretty similar (to 1992)," Nestor said Tuesday at a news conference, noting that France has two top singles players in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.
"But I think we've got a much better singles lineup than we did then. Milos (Raonic) is one of the top players in the world, Vasek (Pospisil) is getting there, and I'm still pretty good at doubles."
Nestor is the elder statesman on a team led by world No. 29 Raonic. The hard hitter from Thornhill, Ont., is considered one of the up and comers in the sport. Pospisil, of Vancouver, is ranked No. 115. Raonic and Pospisil are both 21.
"There has been a lot of growth in Canadian tennis over the last 14 or so months," Raonic said. "I think things are on the way up. We know the people here are really passionate to see what is to come this weekend and they are going to be very supportive."
The crowds at Thunderbird Arena, sold out for months, will be rooting for an upset.
On the other side of the net, Les Bleus finished second in last year's Davis Cup and boast a roster with two of the top players in the world.
"For me this is the best atmosphere. Every time I step on the court for me I get shivers," said world No. 6 Tsonga. "All the time I am happy to represent my country and fight for my country."
World No. 13 Monfils confirmed he will play after suffering a knee injury last week.
The pairings will be drawn Thursday. The matches will be held Friday through Sunday.