Davis Cup captain Leon Smith called for Scotland to host more world-class tennis after Glasgow was appointed to host Great Britain’s World Group tie against USA in March.
The city’s Emirates Arena will be transformed into a temporary tennis court with a capacity of 7,100 for the tie, which will take place on March 6-8.
It will be Britain’s first home Davis Cup tie since the surprise win over Russia in Coventry in April 2013, and Murray’s first Davis Cup outing on home soil since 2011. Following Murray’s historic victory at Wimbledon in 2013, Glasgow-born Smith believes there should be more tennis played north of the border.
“With Andy Murray becoming Wimbledon champion, Scotland deserves the opportunity for access,. I think this is the start of something, whether it’s Davis Cup or more events, exhibitions, or maybe in the future looking at a Tour event as a possibility,” he said.
“It’s going to be a huge deal with Andy heading back to play in Scotland for the first time since he won Wimbledon last year,” Smith added. “It will no doubt be an emotional experience for all of us, just like it was when Andy came back to Glasgow and played against Luxembourg in 2011. You could see how much the crowd were desperate for him to play and we’re delighted to now be in a position to bring a World Group tie to a city that has given us so much support over the years.”
Built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Emirates Arena, formerly known as the Glasgow Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, hosted the badminton and track cycling events this summer. The arena, which has a hydraulically-operated 200-metre six-lane athletics track that can be retracted to allow for other events, is also the home of the Glasgow Rocks professional basketball team as well as the national training centre for five sports including athletics and volleyball.
Following the success of the Commonwealth Games, the Davis Cup tie is the latest in a number of high-profile events coming to Glasgow, including next year’s World Gymnastics Championships and World Swimming Championships.
“We will continue to merit our position as one of the world’s top 10 sporting cities,” said Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council. “The prospect of Andy Murray and the British team taking on the best players from the USA at the Emirates Arena is truly one to relish. This is fantastic news and bringing Davis Cup tennis to the Emirates Arena continues our success in attracting world-class sporting events to the city.”
Britain face USA for the second straight year after the team beat the Americans in San Diego before falling to Italy in the quarter-finals in Naples. It will be the first main draw World Group tie played on British soil since 2002.
“I’m really excited about coming to Glasgow to play in a World Group tie,” said Murray. “It’s going to be a huge week for our team and I’m looking forward to be able to play in front of a home crowd. I did play Davis Cup in Glasgow a few years ago where we received incredible support, but this is a World Group tie so it’s a massive deal and we’ll be doing everything we can to get the win.”
Great Britain is re-establishing itself amongst the top tennis nations after several years in the wilderness. This year’s defeat of USA was the highlight so far of Leon Smith’s reinvigoration of a side that lost to Lithuania in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II four years ago. It featured a shock five-set win for British No. 2 James Ward over former Queen’s Champion Sam Querrey, lifting some of the pressure off Murray’s shoulders.
The Great Britain-USA rivalry is the oldest in Davis Cup history, and the first ever edition of the competition in 1900 was a one-off tie between the two nations. USA is the most successful country in the competitions’s history, winning the event 32 to Great Britain’s nine.
“We have an incredible venue in a city with fantastic sporting pedigree, and a history between the two nations that will ensure this tie will be epic,” said Michael Downey, Chief Executive of the LTA. “It’s about time Great Britain got a World Group home tie – this is the first since 2008. The stakes are high and we are all looking forward to getting behind our team to get the job done.”