PEDRO LUIS ALONSO
Thursday, 24 February 2022, 12:59
Malaga is close to being assigned as a host city for the one of the groups in the first stage of the Davis Cup Finals. The decision will be made by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in the coming days after the end of the qualifiers at the beginning of March. These include Spain against Romania, to be played at Marbella's Puente Romano tennis club.
The Martín Carpena sports arena would be the venue that Spain would play their group stage games at between 14 and 18 September, and they have very favourable odds of beating Romania in the qualifiers.
It is worth noting that the tournament enabled a format change in 2019, which reduced the participating teams from 18 to 16. They include the 12 qualifying nations, Russia (current winners), Croatia (runners-up) and invitees the United Kingdom and Serbia - with the likely presence of Novak Djokovic.
The 16 teams will be divided and placed into four groups, with the top two progressing to the Abu Dhabi finals, where the quarter-finals and knock-out stages would be played from 23 to 27 November.
Malaga is the only Spanish host that has been put forward. Madrid, which has held the tournament since its rebirth in 2019, hasdn't put itself forward as an option.
The Andalusian regional government's Education and Sport's department, with support of Malaga city council, have been working hard on the candidacy for months. It's been submitted and it is already has the backing of the central government's National Sports Council and the Spanish Tennis Federation. They now await the decision of the ITF.
The last time tennis was played at the Martín Carpena arena was between 2006 and 2008 for the Malaga Masters, an exhibition tournament that saw Rafa Nadal and the best Spanish players compete at the end of the season. The venue, where the Unicaja basketball team play, has a capacity for nearly 10,000 spectators.
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