David Nalbandian headlines a list of 33 players who will be recognised with the Commitment Award during the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round ties this weekend.
This new award was conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations, and is presented to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country. Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20-home-and-away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including Zone Group events) over their career.
Argentine Nalbandian first appeared in the competition back in 2002 and has gone on to represent his country in a total of 25 ties, accumulating an impressive 37 rubber victories. He has further helped Argentina reach the Final on three occasions in this time only to end as a runner-up in each appearance, most recently against Spain at the conclusion of the 2011 event.
Countryman Guillermo Vilas is amongst the most high profile names from the past who will be honoured having helped lead Argentina to their first Final in 1981 where he also suffered defeat as the USA won their third title in four years.
Other World Group players who will receive the award during their ties are Canadian Daniel Nestor, who first played in Davis Cup over 20 years ago, and Olivier Rochus who will be looking to help Belgium progress past the first round for only the second time this century when they host Serbia. A full list of players receiving the award this weekend can be found at the bottom of this article.
In addition, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will make a special presentation to Danish players Kenneth Carlsen and Michael Mortensen, and posthumous awards to Einer Ulrich, Jorgen Ulrich and Kurt Nielsen in Copenhagen on Tuesday 5 February. Icelandic player Arnar Sigurdsson will also be given the award in a separate ceremony next week.
The ITF presented the first seven trophies to players in an on-court presentation at the 100th Davis Cup Final in Prague last November. Among those presented with awards at last year’s final were Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli, who heads the elite list of players having played 66 home or away ties for his country, and San Marino’s Domenico Vicini, who holds the record for the most ties played in all levels of the competition with a total of 87.
Presentations will be made to the following players at their respective Davis Cup home ties before the doubles rubber on Saturday 2 February:
Argentina – Ricardo Cano, Jose Luis Clerc, Javier Frana, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Villas
Belgium – Olivier Rochus, Filip Dewulf
Canada – Grant Connell, Sebastien Lareau, Daniel Nestor
Chinese Taipei – Hsu Huang-Jung
Ireland – Owen Casey, Sean Sorensen
Japan – Tsuyoshi Fukui, Satoshi Iwabuchi, Jun Kamiwazumi, Gouichi Motomura
Kazakhstan – Alexey Kedryuk
Monaco – Bernard Balleret
Peru – Luis Horna, Ivan Miranda, Jaime Yzaga
Poland – Mariusz Fyrstenberg, Marcin Matkowski
Portugal – Emanuel Couto, Joao Cunha-Silva, Rui Machado, Nuno Marques, Leonardo Tavares
Sri Lanka – Arjun Fernando
Uruguay – Federico Dondo, Marcel Felder, Marcelo Filippini, Diego Perez
A total of 299 players have already qualified to receive the award, of whom 252 are still alive. Presentations will be made to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013.
The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognised on an honours board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.
A full list of award winners can be viewed here.