GB captain Leon Smith urges Davis Cup organisers to listen to players over the future of the event amid suggestions finals week could be headed for the Middle East
- The historic Davis Cup finals week could be held in Abu Dhabi in the future
- The event’s promoters believe it is the best way to fulfil obligations to the ITF
- Great Britain will face France and the Czech Republic at this week’s group stages
- The team will play behind closed doors after an Austrian 20-day lockdown
British Captain Leon Smith has called for more consultations amid suggestions that the Davis Cup finals week could be headed for Abu Dhabi.
With the historic men’s team event kicking off on Thursday after skipping 2020, there is now the belief that it may find a home in the Middle East.
This may be seen by the event’s promoters, footballer Gerard Pique’s Kosmos group, as the best way to fulfil obligations to the International Tennis Federation, its guardians. The two parties entered into a 25-year staging deal worth an estimated $3billion in 2018.
GB captain Leon Smith (right) believes players should have a say in the future of the Davis Cup
The 2021 finals event has its group stages in spectator-free Innsbruck – where GB are based – Turin and Madrid, with the latter hosting its climax next week. Smith wants the national captains involved in discussions about the coming years.
‘They’re still trying to find what’s going to work best, but I think there’s got to be an open dialogue about what happens next in this and trying to find a solution to make sure this remains one of the most important things in the calendar,’ he said.
‘It’s got such history, gravitas. No one can control what’s happened here, but we can control what happens in the future with it and, if you talk to any of the players or the captains who’ve experienced the atmosphere, the environment is so important, whether that’s home, whether that’s away, but it’s got to be full crowds.
The Great Britain team, featuring Smith and Andy Murray (second right), last won in 2015
‘It’s got to be what’s best for the players and the schedules.’
GB will play behind closed doors over the weekend due to the Austrian lockdown, trying to emerge from a group that pits them against France and the Czech Republic.
Even without Andy Murray, Smith will be able to pick a strong side of top 30 players, featuring Cam Norrie, Dan Evans, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski.
British No 1 Cameron Norrie (pictured) will be Great Britain’s highest ranked singles player