Australia has been dealt a daunting assignment for its return to the Davis Cup World Group after being drawn to face France away from home in the first round.
For Matt Ebden and his fellow countrymen, the draw means that Australia will need to beat a squad brimming with talent including world No.8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon to ensure survival in the top 16.
Captain Pat Rafter had been hoping for a touch of luck in Wednesday’s draw after Australia beat Poland on Sunday to secure a return to the top tier for the first time since 2007.
And while his side avoided the competition’s top-ranked teams for round one, there was still little luck as Australia missed a home tie and were pitted against the fifth-ranked French.
The draw means Australia will almost certainly have to again compete on clay, the same surface with which they earned wins against Uzbekistan and Poland this year.