The Alabama Sports Council is hoping to bring the Davis Cup semifinals to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in September, Alabama’s leading sports tourism official said today.
If the U.S. men’s tennis team wins against Croatia in the quarterfinals in Seattle in July, the semifinals will be held in the United States, said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of the Alabama Sports Council.
Alabama will be among the bidders for that event, and “I think the USTA (United States Tennis Association) really wants to come to this community again,” Hallman said this afternoon.
“We have a great relationship with the USTA. The last Davis Cup event we had in 2009 sold out in an hour,” Hallman said. “Of course, everyone thought (Roger) Federer was coming because he said he was coming and then he withdrew, but it was a smashing success.”
The Alabama Sports Council bid for the July quarterfinals, recommending the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, but the U.S. team decided it wanted to play outdoors, Hallman said. Outdoor tennis and the hot July weather in Alabama weren’t a good match, he said. The USTA chose to hold the quarterfinals in Seattle, he said.
But in September, the weather in Alabama is much more conducive to outdoor tennis, and Hoover Metropolitan Stadium is about the only place in the Birmingham-Hoover area where such an event could be held, Hallman said.
Tennis matches have been held in baseball stadiums before, he said, referencing Petco Park in San Diego.
Such an event would be great for the metro area, Hallman said.
“It’s a very coveted sporting event — national and international television,” he said. “I think it would be fantastic to have it back … I think there are a lot of tennis fans who would be very eager to see something like that.”