Britain to face Russia
GB face tough task to stay in contention for World Group qualification
Last Updated: 19/09/12 12:28pm
Leon Smith: Tough task ahead after being drawn against top seeds Russia
Great Britain will face Russia for a place in the Davis Cup World Group play-offs after being handed a tough draw for the 2013 competition.
Britain were the only one of the seven unseeded nations to be given a bye in the first round of Europe/Africa Zone Group I but their reward for that was a tie against the top seeds.
If Leon Smith's side manage to beat Russia at home they will secure a place in the play-offs, where they will have to win again to progress to the World Group for 2014.
Britain had won five successive ties to go from the verge of relegation to the lowest tier of Davis Cup to within sight of a return to the World Group.
Hopes of a return to the highest level were scuppered by a defeat to Belgium in April, but the nine-time winners of the the competition will hope this year can see them return to the highest level.
Russia won the Davis Cup as recently as 2006 but dropped out of the World Group for next year after defeats to Austria and Brazil.
Russia have five players in the top 100, including Mikhail Youzhny and Nikolay Davydenko, while James Ward is the next best ranked Brit behind Andy Murray at 209.
Dan Evans was Britain's hero this year, beating two much-higher ranked players in the win over Slovakia in February, but he has failed to build on those results and is ranked 288th.
Britain's hopes of victory would therefore appear to rest on the participation of Murray, who did not play in either of the ties this year.
All of the last four ties have been played at Glasgow's Braehead Arena and the Lawn Tennis Association will announce the venue for the Russia tie, to be played on April 5-7, in due course.