The USTA announced today that the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham, Ala., has been selected as the site for the 2009 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas first round match between the United States and Switzerland, March 6-8. The indoor arena is expected to seat more than 17,000. Tickets will go on sale in mid-January.
The United States and Switzerland are two of the 16 nations competing for the 2009 Davis Cup title as part of the Davis Cup World Group. The U.S. leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles.
"The tennis fans in Alabama are in for something special. There is nothing in tennis, or sport, like a Davis Cup match," said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe. "It's a tough assignment at home, so crowd support will certainly be an advantage for us. It should be one of the most star-studded first round matches this year."
The United States has used the same line-up - world No. 8 Andy Roddick, No. 10 James Blake, and the world's top doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan - for 10 of the last 11 Davis Cup matches, including all four wins during its 2007 title run. World No. 2 and five-time reigning US Open champion Roger Federer has announced his intention to play in the first round of Davis Cup for the first time since 2004 and is expected to be joined by No. 13 Stanislas Wawrinka, with whom he won the Olympic gold medal in men's doubles this past summer in Beijing.
The best-of-five match series begins Friday, with two singles matches, featuring each country's No. 1 player against the other country's No. 2 player. Saturday's schedule features the pivotal doubles match. The final day of play on Sunday will feature two "reverse singles" matches, when the No. 1 players square off followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match.
"We are excited that the USTA has chosen Birmingham to host the Davis Cup," said Gene Hallman, Executive Director of the Alabama Sports Foundation. "We look forward to showcasing our fine state in front of a global audience and expanding on Birmingham's strong tennis tradition."
This will be the first Davis Cup tie ever played in Alabama, making it the 33rd state to host the prestigious competition. It also will be the first major professional tennis event in Birmingham since the city hosted the 1994 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships. The city also hosted a USTA Pro Circuit men's challenger from 1991-93 and 1995-2003 as well as women's $10,000 event from 1983-88.. Blake was the singles runner-up and doubles at the Challenger in 2001 and the Bryan brothers won the doubles title in 1999.
The United States and Switzerland have split their two previous meetings in Davis Cup. Switzerland won the last meeting in the 2001 first round in McEnroe's debut as U.S. Davis Cup Captain and Roddick's Davis Cup debut. The Swiss were led by relative unknown Federer won both his singles matches and the doubles point.
The two nations first met in the 1992 Davis Cup Final in Ft. Worth, Texas, as Andre Agassi and Jim Courier each won a singles match and Pete Sampras and John McEnroe teamed for a doubles victory to give the U.S. the title. A 10-year-old Roddick was among the capacity crowds. He said the experience "changed my life. It changed the way I viewed tennis, especially the way I viewed Davis Cup."
Founded in 1900, Davis Cup is the world's largest annual international team competition. The USTA organizes, stages and promotes all Davis Cup events in the U.S.