Andy Murray pledges to play in Belgium amid growing terror threat - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray pledges to play in Belgium amid growing terror threat



Andy Murray (image via The Daily Mail)

Shortly after his straight sets dismissal of David Ferrer in his first match at the ATP World Tour Finals, Andy Murray has spoken about the increasing uncertainty regarding security at the upcoming Davis Cup final.


Murray will lead the British team in their bid to win their first Davis Cup title since 1978. In the final they will play Belgium in their home country, a place which has seen increasing anti-terror operations. Following the multiple terror attacks in Paris on November 13th, Belgium has become central in the investigation with a series of anti-terror raids across the country. The New York Times has reported that the suspected mastermind behind the attacks was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national who fought in Syria for the Islamic State.

The recent developments in Paris and Belgium, has sparked concerns about the security situation for the upcoming Davis Cup finals in Ghent, will take place in less than two weeks time. Murray spoke about the recent security issue in Europe as he vows to continue playing as normal.

“I do think the best thing we can do is live our normal lives, not change too much, because then the terrorists is winning”. The world No.2 said.
“I don’t want to live my life in fear every time I step onto the tennis court”.

The Davis Cup isn’t the only tennis tournament, which has seen an increase in security. On Sunday the organizers of the ATP World Tour finals announced stricter security measures, including an increase in police and the ban of all food and drink being brought into the venue.

Murray also spoke about the potential players that could be selected for the British Davis Cup team by captain Leon Smith. Smith has a tough task after two Brits, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, won Challenger titles over the weekend. There is also James Ward, who has been an instrumental player for the British Davis Cup team in recent time. Despite the tricky task for his captain, Murray remains level headed about who may potentially join him.

“Obviously it’s a good path to be in. I think it’s the same kind of position as the Belgians really. They have three guys capable of playing the second singles, as well, with Darcis and Coppejans probably being the best clay court players, but Bemelmans with a slightly different game style”. Murray said.

The British team could also have another player to pick from, Aljaz Bedene. Bedene is a former Slovenian player who switched his nationality to British earlier this year. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Bedene is ineligible to play for Great Britain because he played for Slovenia. The British No.2, who is currently ranked 45th in the world, is arguing that the new rule came into effect after he submitted his paperwork to play for Great Britain. He will find out tomorrow if his appeal has been successful. Speaking about Bedene’s appeal to the ITF, Murray is critical of the speed of the process.

“My view is that the process has taken such a long time that it is awkward timing now”. Murray said in reference to the upcoming Davis Cup final.
“It isn’t his (Bedene) fault that it’s taken such a long time”. Murray added.

Murray will have the chance this week of securing his place as world No.2 at the end of the year for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old honestly said that it isn’t a goal for him, however, he would be ‘delighted’ if he did.

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Players Free To Play Russian Exhibition Without Facing Penalties, Says WTA



Italian world No.30 Jasmine Paolini is among a group of players that will be playing in Russia (photo by Ubitennis)

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) says they do not support an event taking place in Russia this weekend but will not take any action against those participating. 


The Trophies of North Palmyra is an international team exhibition event that is being held across three days between December 1-3 in Saint Petersburg. It has a similar concept to that of the Laver Cup with two teams facing off against each other with the captains being Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nikolay Davydenko. Five out of the 13 participants are Russian players, including Karen Khachanov and Veronika Kudermetova. The international attendees are Roberto Bautista Agut, Alexander Bublik, Yulia Putintseva, Jasmine Paolini, Viktoriya Tomova, Dusan Lajovic, Laslo Djere and Adrian Mannarino. 

Currently, Tour-level events are banned from being held in Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine which began on February 24th. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia launched their invasion, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. The country is also currently suspended from playing in team events by the ITF. 

Due to the ongoing conflict, the decision of some players to play in Russia has drawn criticism. However, the WTA has confirmed in an email to Reuters that they will be taking no action against their players. 

“This event is not affiliated with the WTA nor is the WTA supportive of the event being held,” the WTA stated.
“Players compete on the WTA Tour as independent contractors and, at their discretion, have the ability to participate in an exhibition without penalty during the off-season.”

Reuters also tried to contact the ATP but they didn’t receive a response on the matter. Although it is expected that they will take a similar stance to that of the WTA. 

The event is being sponsored by the Russian energy giant Gazprom. Some of its board members have been sanctioned by international governments due to the war.

“Is it okay to promote sanctioned companies?” World No.31 Lesia Tsurenko wrote on social media platform X, tagging both the ATP and WTA in it. 

There are yet to be any comments from those taking part in the event. According to a press release (in Russian only), the schedule of the exhibition will be the following:-

  • December 1 (Friday) – Junior matches, the opening of the tournament and two matches of professionals. 
  • December 2 (Saturday) – junior final, four singles matches and a legends match. 
  • December 3 (Sunday) – final for juniors, five matches of the team tournament and closing ceremony 

Details about financial incentives on offer have not been made public. 

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Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title



An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets. 


The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him. 

“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”

Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court. 

Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face. 

Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.

In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward. 

“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters. 
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”

It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles. 

“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.

Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50. 

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Spain To Continue Hosting Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup Finals in 2024



Photo by Marta Magni

The International Tennis Federation confirmed on Sunday that the host cities of their premier team events will remain unchanged for another year.


During a draw ceremony for the 2024 Davis Cup, it was announced that Malaga will once again hold the eight-team finale at the end of next season. Making it the fifth time in a row that the event has been held on Spanish soil since the competition underwent a revamp following an ITF AGM vote. It would have been six but the 2020 edition had to be axed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We have just successfully finished a Final 8 in Malaga and we are already thinking about next year. I thank the International Tennis Federation for trusting us this event,” The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Government of Andalusia, Arturo Bernal, said in a statement.
“It is not easy to organize the Final 8 of this competition in Andalusia for the third consecutive year, but this news shows that we are on the right track and that the Junta de Andalucía (name of regional government) is committed to bringing the best sporting events to Andalusia, which is why it can become the home of Spanish sport.”

The decision comes at the end of what has been a largely successful event in the Spanish city which has attracted thousands of fans in attendance. The venue of the competition, Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena, was near capacity during Italy’s 2-1 win over Serbia in the semi-finals on Saturday when Jannik Sinner stunned Novak Djokovic in three sets. 

In a second boost for the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), it has also been revealed that Seville will continue hosting the Billie Jean King Cup in 2024. It was previously held in Glasgow, Scotland last year and in Prague, Czech Republic the year before that. 

“We’re excited to bring the women’s World Cup of Tennis back to Seville and thanks to our work with ITF member the Real Federacion Espanola de Tenis (RFET), and to our partners the Region of Andalucia who share our vision for the growth of women’s sport, we can now focus on delivering another spectacular Finals for the fans in 2024.” ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement. 

Some critics will question the move to continue hosting both events in Spain instead of moving them elsewhere. Since their format has been changed, the finales are yet to take place outside of Europe. 

The draws for the 2024 tournaments 

Davis Cup

The format of the Davis Cup features teams playing a series of qualifying ties with the winners of those progressing to the finals which will feature 16 teams, including four wildcards. Those 16 teams will then be split down into four groups which will each be held at various locations that are yet to be announced. The top two of each group will then progress to the knockout event in Malaga. 

Next year Great Britain, Spain, Australia and Italy will receive wildcards into the finals. They will be joined by 12 winners of the following ties that will be held in February. 

  • Canada v Korea Republic
  • Serbia v Slovakia
  • Croatia v Belgium
  • Hungary v Germany
  • Netherlands v Switzerland
  • Czech Republic v Israel
  • Ukraine* v United States
  • Finland v Portugal
  • Chinese Taipei v France
  • Argentina v Kazakhstan
  • Sweden v Brazil
  • Chile v Peru

*Davis Cup organizers will agree on a venue with Ukraine for their tie due to the ongoing war with Russia.

Billie Jean King Cup

The format is similar to the Davis Cup but the winners of the eight qualifying ties will join four wildcards to play in the Finals which begins with the group stages and then the knockout rounds within the same week.

Spain, Canada, Czechia, and Italy have all been given wildcards. They will be joined in Saville by the winners of the following ties. 

  • Australia (1) (c) * v Mexico 
  • Switzerland (2) (c) v Poland 
  • France (3) (c) v Great Britain 
  • USA (4) (c) v Belgium 
  • Japan (c) * v Kazakhstan (5) 
  • Brazil (c) v Germany (6) 
  • Slovakia (7) (c) * v Slovenia 
  • Ukraine (c) * v Romania (8)

(#) = seed; (c) = choice of ground; * = choice of ground decided by lot  

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