Terror threat a “great concern” for Davis Cup final

Andy Murray will lead Britain in the Davis Cup final against Belgium.  Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Andy Murray will lead Britain in the Davis Cup final against Belgium. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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THE raised terror threat in Belgium is of “great concern” to the International Tennis Federation but preparations for the Davis Cup final are continuing.

Brussels was put on its highest alert level on Saturday because of a serious and imminent threat, with the public told to avoid crowded places. The city’s metro system will be closed this weekend and football matches cancelled.

The Davis Cup final between Belgium and Great Britain is due to take place next weekend in Ghent, only 35 miles from Brussels.

The ITF, which organises the competition, has been in discussions with Belgian authorities since it emerged that Brussels was at the centre of the terrorist plot that led to the attacks on Paris.

ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement: “Over the last week, the ITF has been in constant contact with the relevant authorities, the Royal Belgian Tennis Federation, the Lawn Tennis Association and our risk assessment company, and this dialogue continues today.

“We are aware that Belgium has raised the terror alert level for Brussels. This greatly concerns us but, at the present time, we are still continuing with preparations for the final.

“What I said last weekend is true today: security of players, fans, media and working staff remains our highest priority.”

The LTA has been taking advice from the Foreign Office, which on Saturday issued new guidance for Britons visiting Belgium, advising against visiting places where there is a high concentration of people.

The British team, led by Andy Murray, is due to travel to Belgium on Sunday to begin preparations for the final, which gets under way on Friday.

The message from the British team so far has been very much that they are keen to carry on as normal, with Murray saying: “I don’t want to live my life in fear each time I step on a tennis court.”

Speaking prior to the latest developments from Belgium, captain Leon Smith remained very hopeful the event would go ahead.

He said: “I think it’s natural to have some worries but I hope nothing stops us going to Ghent to play the final because I think it’s important that everyone rises above it, and this event should take place, unless of course something else happens between now and then.

“We’re getting daily updates on what’s happening there and that’s as much as we can do. Of course safety, not just for the team but the fans and everyone that’s going, that’s the most important thing.”