x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

So Davis Cup is not such an afterthought after all

The Davis Cup may not rank very high in the glamour stakes, but for the supporters, it remains a massive draw, says Ahmed Rizvi.

Diego Maradona, recently hired to be a cheerleader of sorts for sports in the UAE, was working up the crowd during Argentina's Davis Cup semi-final against the Czech Republic.
Diego Maradona, recently hired to be a cheerleader of sorts for sports in the UAE, was working up the crowd during Argentina's Davis Cup semi-final against the Czech Republic.

 

In a tennis world dominated by the four grand slams, the Davis Cup may not rank very high in the glamour stakes, but for the supporters, it remains a massive draw.

The football legend Diego Maradona, the former Al Wasl manager, ramped up the rowdy Argentine home fans in their semi-final against the Czech Republic this week.

In Spain, the absence of Rafael Nadal made no difference at the turnstiles in the other semi-final between the hosts and the United States.

"It was a really tough crowd," said Tomas Berdych, who beat Carlos Berlocq to hand Argentina their first defeat at the Parque Roca citadel in Buenos Aires.

Led feverishly by Maradona, the crowds sang in one voice, creating a football-like mood in the stadium.

A similar atmosphere prevailed in Gijon as Spain reached the final for the fourth time in five years.

In fact, it was the same around the globe, even in places such as cricket-crazy India.

The Davis Cup allows fans to indulge in their jingoism, which is not usually encouraged at other tennis tournaments, and the atmosphere helps bring out the best in the players as the surprise results over the years show.

The packed tennis calendar, however, often forces the exhausted top stars of the game to give the Davis Cup a miss and the sports' decision makers should have a rethink about the schedule and the best-of-five format to make it less arduous.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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