surinenglish

No time for complexes

Marbella has launched its application to host the eliminatory round of the Davis Cup, when Spain will compete against the UK, and it seems there could be no better place for a sports competition between these two countries. There are few places the British like as much as the Costa del Sol, and possibly few destinations are so attractive for a short break which could possibly include a match between Nadal and Murray.

The application has brought excitement to the town as it waits for the Tennis Federation to make a decision, but it also threatens to resuscitate one of those recurrent and necessary debates on the Costa del Sol, about sewage treatment plants and the coastal railway. These may seem boring, because rather than highlight a need what they do is reveal ineffectiveness. For decades there has been talk of the need for a major event, in autumn or winter, to encourage visitors to the region outside the peak tourist season.

Just as in the world of sport, there is rivalry between those who set standards and those who measure where each party stands. On the Costa del Sol it is often said that the Cote d'Azur is the principal competitor for top range markets, but when we remember that there they have the Monaco Grand Prix, the Montecarlo Tennis Open and the Cannes Film Festival, we realise how far behind we are and how much further we still have to go.

It is possible that aspiring to so much could result in disappointment, but it is better to set the bar high than continue in this pendulous dynamic which repeatedly leads to self-complacency over the figures each season, and the frustration of impotence in the face of major problems which are never resolved.

There is no formula to show how to get out of this perverse dynamic, but the first step could be to put an end to the complex which still affects some administrations when it comes to supporting initiatives based in Marbella. This is undoubtedly because of the absurd fear that they will be associated with the millionaire holidaymakers and not the thousands of workers and businesses who still keep this brand alive after half a century.

Now there is the chance. Marbella wants to host the next round of the Davis Cup and there are institutions that are talking too long to support the initiative.