Britain will be at home to Tunisia next March as they begin their attempt to climb out of Europe Africa Zone Group Two, the Davis Cup's third division. Yesterday's draw paired the two countries for the first time.
Leon Smith's team will be the overwhelming favourites to progress, whether or not Andy Murray plays in the tie, to be played from 4-6 March at a venue to be decided. Although Tunisia won all four of their matches this year in gaining promotion from Europe Africa Zone Group Three, Marek Jaziri, the world No 420, is their only singles player ranked in the world's top 1000. James Ward (world No 230) and Jamie Baker (No 259) were Britain's singles players in their last match, a 5-0 victory over Turkey in a relegation play-off at Eastbourne. Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski, the world's No 32-ranked pair, played in the doubles.
In order to return to Europe Africa Zone Group One, from which they were relegated at the end of last year, Britain would have to beat Tunisia and then win two more matches, against Ireland or Luxembourg followed by Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus or Hungary.
"The preparations start today," Smith said yesterday. "We want to build on the progress we made against Turkey."