By Alexandra Willis
in Indian Wells
12 March 2011
Andy Murray has called for Britain’s forthcoming Davis Cup tie against Luxembourg to be housed at a venue that “sells out in minutes” and show off the true atmosphere and excitement of the famous team competition.
The British No.1, who gave the clearest indication yet that he intends to play in the Europe/Africa Zone Group II tie in July, explained that the venue does not need to be the biggest, or the best, but should be the one with the best chance of bringing a sell-out, enthusiastic tennis crowd.
“Tennis is a huge sport in the UK and the fact that we have Davis Cup matches and they’re not sold out within days is not right,” Murray said ahead of his first match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. “So I think they should pick a smaller venue that gets sold out quickly, that creates some interest in the area – I think that makes a lot more sense than putting it in a huge venue where they might not sell the tickets out and the demand isn’t going to be as high.”
Murray has not competed in a Davis Cup tie for Great Britain since playing all three matches in Britain’s dispiriting defeat to Poland in Liverpool in September 2009, and, with the 2012 Olympics drawing ever nearer, needs to make himself available for Davis Cup during the course of this year. It stands to reason therefore that his opinion will hold some sway with captain Leon Smith.
One venue mooted to be in consideration is Stirling University, who have submitted an application to the LTA ahead of the decision on Monday. A stone’s throw from where the Murray brothers grew up, Stirling is also familiar territory for Davis Cup regular Colin Fleming, who took a break from the tour to spend four years studying a degree in Economics and Finance.
“Me, Jamie and Colin grew up playing there for many years,” said Murray, “and, yeah, it is obviously close to home for me. It’s 10 minutes from where I grew up playing and that’s obviously an option.”
Stirling’s Gannochy National Tennis Centre, which boasts six indoor acrylic and two outdoor acrylic courts, may not have the expanse of somewhere like Nottingham, or the pomp and circumstance of Eastbourne, but, Murray believes that a Davis Cup venue, which only requires one match court and one practice court, should not be decided solely based on facilities.
“I think that’s also a reason why it wouldn’t be a bad idea because it kind of shows that it’s not about the facilities,” he said. “They’ve got a good gym there, the courts aren’t great but that’s where all of us came through playing. I think it would be good.”
And, there is no doubt that a Stirling-based tie would certainly prove popular with Scotland’s ardent tennis fans, and provide a strong contrast to the recent ties in Bolton and Eastbourne, which were never full to capacity.
“I don’t know how many people they could fit but I’m sure the people who would come to watch would be pumped for it,” he said. “They’d get behind the team and I think that’s what Davis Cup’s about: it’s picking the right venue, it’s not picking the biggest venue or the most convenient venue – it’s about picking the right venue that’s going to get the best crowd and that’s what they need to decide.”
The LTA are due to announce the venue for the July tie on Monday.