Riveting Davis Cup Match in Marbella Between Spain and Great Britain
The message from the regional minister for tourism and sport was clear. According to Francisco Javier Fernández, speaking during the official presentation in Marbella of the Davis Cup first round match between Spain and Great Britain, “This enables us to demonstrate the capacity we have to manage these kinds of events, but we are also showing the British market that, early in February, you can play (tennis) outdoors.”
His comments followed an earlier presentation in January at the Fitur international travel and tourism fair in Madrid, where authorities at the Marbella stand highlighted the municipality’s outstanding appeal as a destination for sports in general.
In addition to the Davis Cup, for example, in 2018 Marbella will be hosting a diverse schedule of sporting events including an Ironman competition in April, the start of one of the stages (26 August) of this year’s La Vuelta cycling race, the City of Marbella Half-Marathon, “Four Days Walking” (popular among both tourists and expatriate residents – and attracting 18 different foreign nationalities in previous editions) and the Marbella-Ceuta sailing regatta (27 April to 1 May).
But in the meantime, returning to the tennis… The Davis Cup match began today (Friday) and continues until Sunday at the Puente Romano Sports Complex in Marbella.
The Spanish Tennis Federation chose Marbella as the venue over a rival bid from Granada, in what is Spain's first Davis Cup tie on home soil since 2013 when it welcomed Ukraine to Madrid's Caja Magica for a World Group play-off.
This week’s contest is the first meeting between Spain and Great Britain in the Davis Cup since 1986, when the British team won 4-1 at the same stage of the competition on home soil in Telford. Great Britain has won the last three ties between the two nations – including in 1979 and 1982 – and leads the overall head-to-head tally 8-5.
Nevertheless, Spain went into this match as a clear favourite following the late withdrawal of British number one and 26th world-ranked ATP player Kyle Edmund, who last week made it to the Australian Open semi-finals, and also the absence of former world number one Andy Murray.
In the opening singles (Friday) Albert Ramos defeated Liam Brady 6-3, 6-4 y 7-6 (5) and Cameron Norrie beat Roberto Bautista 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6 y 2-6 to make it 1-1. The Saturday doubles will pit Pablo Carreño (Spain’s number one as Rafa Nadal is absent) and Feliciano López against Jamie Murray and Dominic Inglot.
Two other Davis Cup matches have previously been held in Marbella: Spain beat Mexico 3-2 in the last-16 first round in 989, also at Puente Romano; and Germany by the same margin in the quarter-finals in 2009 played on an improvised clay court at the old Puerto Banús bullring. (Spain went on to win the Cup that year.)
For those wanting to enjoy the whole Marbella luxury lifestyle experience this weekend, the Dani García restaurant group is offering special Davis Cup menus and specialities. The Michelin two-star Dani García Restaurant, located in the same Hotel Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa, has just launched its new Arcadia concept (based on “unique metaphors” of Andalucian cuisine); the Bibo brasserie is also offering “new surprises” as well as its classic dishes such as “Ox-Tail Brioche”; and Lobito del Mar is showcasing its fish and seafood dishes, as well as tapas and innovative “espetos” (skewers of barbecued delicacies).
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