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Jacksonville scores host status for 2013 Davis Cup

by David Chapman. Staff Writer

Jacksonville will play host to a 2013 Davis Cup first-round match Feb. 1-3 between the United States and Brazil at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, City and United States Tennis Association officials announced Tuesday.

The Davis Cup was founded in 1900 and is the world’s largest men’s team competition, with 122 nations competing for 2013, Jeff Ryan, USTA USA team events director, said in the announcement. The Davis Cup is awarded to the winner of a 16-nation World Group, which comprises teams from the competition.

Mayor Alvin Brown said the event would generate a $2 million to $3 million local economic impact and carries an anticipated 1,500 hotel night stays. Brown and City Sports and Entertainment Director Alan Verlander called the event a great economic driver for the city and the type of sports event the City is attempting to attract.

“This is more than about tennis, it’s about drawing in new visitors and building a strong brand for Jacksonville that’s good for everyone,” Brown said. “The word is getting out (that) Jacksonville is a premier city for major sporting events.”

Verlander said also that the event is about more than the sport and will attract visitors from around the world, add to local business and grow the local tennis community.

Several officials said they expected the three-day event to have an Arena-capacity crowd approaching 14,000.

Verlander said that several events, such as Jacksonville University and Jacksonville Giants basketball games, had to be rearranged but that the teams understood.

The three-day event will feature two singles matches Feb. 1, a doubles match Feb. 2 and “reverse singles” matches — where No. 1 players face each other and No. 2 players face each other — Feb. 3.

Tickets will be sold in a three-day package, starting around $100, beginning in early December.

Ryan said historically, the events have quickly sold out and that fans could stay informed on the event through utsa.com/daviscup.

“I have every reason to think that will continue here,” he said, speaking of possible sellouts.

The matchup with Brazil will be the first for the U.S. since the 2011 quarterfinals in Austin, Texas, and the third home match since 2009. It also will be the fifth Davis Cup meeting between the two countries, with the U.S. holding a 3-1 advantage.

The winner will face the winner of Serbia and Spain April 5-6 in the quarterfinals. Should the U.S. defeat Brazil, it also will be the host country.

As reported by the Daily Record, Ryan and other association officials were in town in August scouting the Arena as a potential host for the Davis Cup finals in November, which were dependent on certain outcomes between the U.S. vs. Spain and Argentina vs. the Czech Republic.

For the Nov. 16-18 finals for the 2012 competition, the U.S. and Czech Republic would have had to win for the U.S. to play host. The Czech Republic was victorious, while the U.S. fell to Spain.

Ryan said Tuesday that although that did not happen, Jacksonville expressed continued interest and was in the right place at the right time when the draws were announced to host the 2013 match.

“We’re very, very happy

to be in Jacksonville,” Ryan said.

dchapman@baileypub.com

356-2466

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