Last December, the France team took sweet revenge for their 1999 Davis Cup final defeat when they beat the more fancied Australians 3-2 in a stunning Melbourne final.
The odds were stacked against the French, with Australia enjoying home advantage and laying a special grass court to suit the serve-and-volley game of Pat Rafter. But the court certainly suited Nicolas Escude, who beat Lleyton Hewitt in the opening singles before securing victory with a 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 win against Wayne Arthurs in the deciding rubber.
France had become the first nation in 29 years to lift the trophy after playing all four ties away from home. They beat Belgium 5-0 in the first round, narrowly edged Switzerland 3-2 in the second and then, with Escude once again shining, squeaked through 3-2 against the Netherlands in the semis.