Great Britain and Andy Murray will need to overcome Belgium on clay at the 13,000-capacity Flanders Expo in the Belgian city of Ghent in this year’s Davis Cup final, it has been confirmed.
The tie will be played on the weekend of November 27-29 with GB appearing in their first final of the sport’s biggest team event since 1978.
The Flanders Expo is made up of eight halls with hall one having a capacity of 13,000.
“Ghent will fully support the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final,” said Tennis Vlaanderen President Dirk de Maeseneer.
“As the third biggest city in Belgium, it has a lot of experience in hosting top international events, such as the Tour of Flanders, the arrival of the Tour de France in 2007 and the Gymnastics World Championships in 2001 and 2013.”
The decision by Belgium as final hosts to stage the match on clay comes as no surprise to many commentators who predicted such a move after world number three Andy Murray won two singles matches and helped brother Jamie win a doubles match to overcome Australia in the semi-finals in Glasgow last weekend.
But Murray’s biggest challenge appears to be justifying his decision whether or not to play the ATP Tour finals.
The World Tour finals concludes on November 22 with the Davis Cup finals beginning on the next Friday.
“The O2 would obviously be a question mark for me if we were playing on the clay,” Murray told the BBC.
“I would go and train and prepare on the clay to get ready for the final.”
Roger Federer withdrew from last year’s ATP Tour final with Novak Djokovic complaining of a bad back before helping Switzerland overcome France in the Davis Cup final a week later, but only after he lost to Gael Monfils in straight sets on the clay of Lille.
“For me to play – if I was to reach the final – five in a row and then take a couple of days off, it would mean only playing for two days on the clay before the Davis Cup final starts and that wouldn’t be enough for me,” said Murray.
“I need more time on the clay to let my back get used to it.”
Murray risks a heavy fine if he cannot come up with a reason for participating in a mandatory event on the tour.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 23, 2015