The U.S. Tennis Association announced Wednesday that the Davis Cup final will be held in Portland in November. It's the first time in 15 years that the event has been held in the U.S. And as Kristian Foden-Vencil reports, it was quick work and fast cash that beat out other cities like San Diego and Oklahoma City.
Jim Curley: “On behalf of the United States Tennis Association, it is my pleasure to officially announce that Portland will be hosting the 2007 Davis Cup final between the United States and Russia.”
Tennis Association director, Jim Curley, made the announcement at Portland City Hall in front of a crowd of enthusiastic sports fans.
It wasn’t until Sunday that organizers even knew if the match would be played in the U.S. The location is decided by which teams reach the final.
This will be the third time the Davis Cup has been hosted in Stumptown. Local tennis pro and tournament organizer, Brian Parrott, is credited with attracting the event in 1981 and 1984. He says bringing it back this year required fast work and a little luck.
Brian Parrott: “An event like this is like lining up the sun and the moon and the stars and it doesn’t happen often. But when you see them lining up, you say, is the venue available? The Trail Blazers were fantastic. Eight days in a major city is not easy to do with three months notice. We started to assemble the team. Phil Knight said yes to Ian Hamilton and put up the first $100,000 of our bid. And my family, my brother, Rockaway Partners, Chet Paulson, we put in an additional $100’s of thousands to say yes, this is worth it.”
While hundreds of thousands of dollars may sound like a lot of money to attract a tennis match, local hotels, restaurants and businesses are likely to reap the rewards. A study by the Boston Chamber of Commerce found that the Davis Cup injected about $15 million into that city’s economy in 1999.
Portlnd’s Mayor, Tom Potter, says he is thrilled by the news.
Tom Potter: “You know, not many people know this. I’m a tennis player. If I hadn’t lost so many games, I could have been a contender too. And just remember, if anyone asks you, are the Russians going to beat us, just remember what Nancy Regan used to say, Just say Nayet.”
The event will run from November 30th to December 2nd. There are about 12,000 seats available each day at the Memorial Coliseum. Tickets are expected to go on sale October 15th at a yet to be determined price.
Tennis pro, Brian Parrott, says it’ll be great, with everyone cheering for the US team and perhaps some of Oregon’s Russian population rooting for the old country.
Brian Parrott: “It’s really the Holy Grail of Tennis. It’s the true Olympics of the sport of tennis.”
Kristian. “And you’ll be putting your money on the U.S.?”
Brian Parrott: “Well the crowd is going to be important. Soviets have got four in the top 20 in the world and they hold the cup right now. So it’ll be exciting.”
While organizers are hoping for a big turn out, the sports’ last foray into the Rose City was less than spectacular.
A ‘Superset Tennis’ tournament featuring names like Andre Agassi and Anna Kournikova, didn’t garner the attention organizers had hope for. But that may have been because it took place the same day as the college Civil War football game.