November 29, 2021

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Innsbrück leg of Davis Cup Finals to be played without fans

Innsbrück

It’s doubtful anyone is feeling sorry for Kosmos, which has been faced with challenge after challenge since taking over – and gutting – the historic Davis Cup competition.

Its inaugural edition in Madrid was played before friends and family, with the exception of host national Spain.

Its second edition in 2020 was cancelled by the pandemic.

And now, as it spreads out to three different cities for the preliminary rounds, comes the word in a communiqué by the International Tennis Federation that a comprehensive lockdown in Austria means the matches for Group C and Group F scheduled there will be played behind closed doors.

If anyone thought the effects of the pandemic on tennis were waning, this is a wakeup call.

The lockdown begins Monday in Austria; the matches are to start on Nov. 25.

Official quote from ITF president David Haggerty: “I know the teams, organisers and everyone involved in the event will share our disappointment that the Davis Cup Finals event in Innsbruck will now be behind closed doors. We will continue to work together with our partners and ensure that we prepare for this great event while following all government guidelines.”

Official quote from Kosmos Tennis CEO Enric Rojas: “We are very sorry for the tennis fans, who have been looking forward to this event for months now. We know the importance of fans for a competition like Davis Cup. But there is no question that we will carry all the measures that are being applied to help confine and improve the current critical Corona situation. The health and safety of all those involved with the event is our highest priority.”

The event organizer in Innsbrück is the E|Motion Group (which is misspelled in the press release). It’s an organization that once managed Austrian star Dominic Thiem and has come to the fore in recent years as it’s taken the helm of several tournaments on the ATP and WTA Tour.

There remain “several organizational questions” that need “to be discussed” amongst the ITF, Kosmos and E|Motion, including refunding tickets.

It’s unknown whether the event is being allowed to go ahead, amidst a nationwide lockdown, without all of those involved being vaccinated.

Group F is Germany, Serbia and host Austria.

Group C is France, Great Britain and the Czech Republic.

It’s a fairly big financial blow for the organizers, who in a somewhat decimated Finals field still had the host nation, nearby Germany and, notably, Novak Djokovic as marquee attractions.