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Tennis Canada wanted a long term relationship with Northlands

Denis Shapovalov of Canada serves to Alexander Zverev of Germany during the semifinals at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Saturday August 12, 2017 in Montreal.
Denis Shapovalov of Canada serves to Alexander Zverev of Germany during the semifinals at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Saturday August 12, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

When the U.S. Open saw Denis Shapovalov establish himself on the scene, that became the hook for Tennis Canada to promote ticket sales in Edmonton for the Davis Cup.

But now that city council has given the closure date of Jan. 1, 2018 to Northlands Coliseum, the sales pitch can be “come say goodbye to the Coliseum.”

Gavin Ziv, the vice president, professional events for Tennis Canada said he had been working for four to five years building a relationship with Northlands.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum closing its doors in January

After the 21-year-hiatus since Davis Cup was last in Edmonton, the plan was to make a stop here on a more regular basis because the Coliseum is a large, and relatively unused building.

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“Trying to get a hold for Davis Cup, which is a nine day hold between the event, the practice and the set up, in Canada during hockey season is not so easy,” Ziv said. “Having a venue that actually has the ability to get you in there like that is fantastic. So we really were thinking that way.”

“We did see the news [that Northlands is closing] and we’re sad for them. We had worked so closely with them, and got to know all the people there, and they do a great job.”

In 1996, Canada staged a 3-2 win over Chile in an otherwise forgettable event. The only other time a Davis Cup tie was in Edmonton was in 1987 against Ecuador, when the University of Alberta tennis centre was still set up as a tournament venue after Universiade.

READ MORE: Canada out of Davis Cup after Denis Shapovalov strikes umpire with tennis ball

“Being in Edmonton wasn’t meant to be something that you do every 21 years,” Ziv said. “It was meant to be something you can bring back and hopefully develop.”

The obvious question would be whether the event could move to Rogers Place. Ziv said that’s always been an option for them, but it’s not easy to get enough time at the new arena.

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“Trying to get the nine days in a row at that facility is a little bit tricky. The unfortunate thing about the Davis Cup format is you don’t have a lot of lead time to know if you’re playing at home or away.”

READ MORE: Denis Shapovalov reveals what advice he got from Raonic, Pospisil

 

Ziv said ideally you can give a venue like Rogers Place two year’s notice to arrange a stretch of nine days. When it’s six months you have less chance.

“Once we see the draw, then we go to everyone to be a bit more serious with it. I think in the case with Edmonton and the people I’ve dealt with at Northlands they know our schedule, I’ve sent it to them.”

Toronto’s Brayden Schnur will kick off the Canada-India tie in singles play at 3 p.m. Friday, ahead of the evening match with Shapovalov. The doubles match goes Saturday and the reverse singles matches are set for Sunday.

With a win over India this weekend, Canada would advance to the world group for 2018. The draw will be held in London on Thursday so, based on a coin-flip, Canada will find out if its first round would be home or away.

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