Tickets are on sale, the draw is out and the scheduling has raised some questions ahead of the first of the new Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.
The event will be held at the Caja Magica which I visited this year and is home to the Mutua Madrid Open. The courts will be hard courts which will be hidden by an overlay making it a hard court. The event will be indoors so the roof will be shut on all three stadium courts.
Training courts is unknown. At the back of the Caja Magica is a bridge with access to all outside courts which don’t have a roof and are likewise clay.
The scheduling has raised some questions..
There will be no play on Monday morning of the event as the World Tour Finals finishes on the Sunday night but play will commence at 4pm CET on Monday on all three show courts which is the earliest of the week for the night session.
Russia will be involved on Monday afternoon and there is a possibility Daniil Medvedev could be in action in London on the Sunday before.
The schedule does ask questions of integrity.
Gerard Pique has confirmed that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have signed up and it will be a busy end of season following the tour finals in London but the scheduling has been done to favour their participation.
Just to avoid doubt;
Centre Court = Manola Santana Stadium – 12,442 capacity
Stadium 2 = Estadio Arantxa Sanchez Vicario – 2923 capacity
Stadium 3 = Estadio 3 – 1772 capacity
So everyone obviously wants to play on Manola Santana stadium obviously!
Let’s disect the schedule;
- Top seeds France are on Manola Santana once
- Second seeds Croatia are both on Manola Santana
- Argentina are on Manola Santana once
- Belgium (4th seeds) on Estadio 3 on both occasions – fair?
- USA are on Sanchez Vicario twice
- Great Britain are on Estadio 3 on both occasions – fair?
How far is the scheduling?
The word ‘fix’ does come to mind…
For their side of the draw both Serbia (Djokovic) and Spain (Nadal) are playing at the latest possible time in the group stage. By the time Serbia step onto court on Wednesday morning at 11am there is a possibility Russia, Colombia and Canada will be in the quarter finals having played both their matches.
Serbia begin 72 hours after the World Tour Finals finish at the latest possible start time for their side of the draw being in Group A. Group B which has Spain also begins at the latest possible time of Tuesday at 6pm and will then play on Wednesday at 6pm as well.
Despite Serbia being in Group A and Spain in Group B when it comes to the quarter finals they will be on complete opposite sides of the draw and cannot meet until the final.
Neither Serbia or Spain are seeded teams but you would expect with Nadal and Djokovic on side a strong chance of winning the group. Added into that will be all of Serbia’s matches will be day sessions and all of Spains matches will be night sessions.
You cannot tell me those two countries scheduling hasn’t been moved back to accommodate potential deep run in London? Also, being in Group A & B means they will find out their quarter final opponents last.
Winner of Group A will be play second best team in group stages and the same for winner of Group B.
I don’t think it is too fair that 2015 winners Great Britain who have won the event more recently than others on the centre court and both of their group matches are on Court 3…
Quarter Finals scheduling is also odd… 3 of the 4 quarter finals will take place on the Friday but for some bizarre reason the first quarter final will take place on Wednesday night.
The winner of Group D will play the winner of Group F on the Wednesday night however who should feel cheated?
Winner of Group C will play winner of group E on Thursday but on Second court which is the only quarter final to be played on the second court. So, 3 of the 4 quarter final play in front of 12,000 fans and the other plays in front of 2500? Not fair.
Group E does contain Great Britain so we will not be on the main court unless we reach the semi-finals. Group C contains Argentina who play once on the main court in the group stage leaving 5 of the 6 teams potentially in that quarter final match without having played on the main court.
Gerard Pique has called it the challenge of his life to make it a success. The main sponsor Rakuten is also the sponsor for his club Barcelona and has signed a deal with Sony Music for the event which rumours his girlfriend Shakira will perform too.
The success of the tournament will be based on atmosphere and ticket sales essentially.
As of Friday 13th September it’s not going great with two months to go.
Out of the 321 sections of the stadium over the 4 QF’s, 2 SF’s and the final only 102 sections are sold out.
There are 48 sections on Manola Santana stadium (excluding premium boxes)
For the three QF’s on Manola Santana out of 144 sections only 45 are sold out. For the QF on Arantxa Sanchez Vicario only 10 of the 33 are sold out but 8 of the 33 are mini boxes.
For the two semi-finals only 30 of 96 sections of the crowd are sold out.
For the final of the Davis Cup only 17 of the 48 sections are sold out.
Obviously there are tickets that have been sold in sections of the crowd which aren’t sold out but to be only at 31% of sold out complete boxes is a concern.
With seven weeks to go and for the final big seven ties it is a concern.
Ticket prices aren’t too bad. Its around €25-€60 for group stage. €40-€95 for quarter finals, €50-€120 for semi-finals and €60-€150 for the final.
If you are going to Caja Magica there are some things to remember from my time there;
- Bags are allowed and will be searched at the gate
- Food & Drink brought in is not permitted (it will be binned)
- Drinks bought inside the arena are aloud in stadiums but bottle lids will be removed or drinks decanted