VANCOUVER -- Martin Laurendeau showed that loyalty plays a significant role when he assembles Canada's Davis Cup tennis team.
The Canadian team captain pulled a bit of a surprise Thursday at the official draw for this weekend's World Group quarter-final against Italy, picking 22-year-old Vasek Pospisil to replace the injured Frank Dancevic on the singles roster.
Dancevic, of Niagara Falls, Ont., was a hero of the February World Group tie against Spain with his opening-day victory over top-50 singles player Marcel Granollers. He was a surprise scratch from the Canadian lineup Thursday with a sore left knee.
Laurendeau could be leaving himself open to some second-guessing by selecting Pospisil over Ottawa's Jesse Levine, who is ranked 96th in the world -- 44 places ahead of Pospisil.
But Pospisil has been a member of the Davis Cup squad since 2008 and has been an active team player the past three years. The veteran from Vancouver carries an overall record of 7-6 (4-4 in singles and 3-2 in doubles) into his eighth tie for Canada.
He was the hero of the 2011 victory over Israel, which sent Canada into the World Group for the first time in eight years, winning all three of his matches including the decisive singles rubber.
Laurendeau didn't directly address the loyalty issue, but he believes Pospisil is capable of pulling an upset against world No. 18 Andreas Seppi, a player he beat at last year's Rogers Cup.
"It was a captain's decision," Laurendeau said. "We'll just let Friday's singles play themselves out and then we'll look at the situation."
Pospisil will need his youthful legs since he is also scheduled to team with veteran Daniel Nestor in Saturday's doubles and to play in the reverse singles Sunday.
-- The Canadian Press