ONcourt Interview: Gavin Ziv “Davis Cup Preview”

Interviewed by: Pierre Lamarche

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*** Gavin Ziv, Director of National Events, Tournament Manager, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Futures Event in Saskatoon this past weekend. “My team works to manage around 70 national and international tournaments taking place in Canada annually in junior, senior, wheelchair and professional categories (this includes Davis Cup and Fed Cup). The National Officiating Department run by William Coffey is also a part of this department and recruits, trains and manages all officials for these events.”***

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PL: “Gavin, what were your first impressions on Belgrade, the venue for the tournament and their organising committee?”

GZ: “I spent 4 days in Belgrade with the Serbian Tennis Federation and the International Tennis Federation as part of the Davis Cup site survey meetings for this tie in May. The city is beautiful, lots of ancient history and wonderful architecture. The people were very friendly and there is a lot to see, do and eat and at very affordable prices. The venue is located in New Belgrade which is more of the business centre for the region. Our tie takes place in September and the climate that time of year is great which will be good for all of our fans coming over to watch. The stadium is like one of our large NHL arenas with a capacity of over 20,000. The Serbian Tennis Federation has hosted many ties in this venue over the past 4 years (Davis and Fed Cup) and they will definitely put on a great show with a crowd I hear will be quite energetic!”

PL: “What do you think of their choice of surface?”

GZ: “Indoor, red clay is probably not the surface we would have chosen which is probably why they went that direction! This event takes place after the hard court season (and directly after the US Open) so I think it will be an adjustment for all the players especially the ones playing late into the second week in New York.”

PL: “Can you see potentially affecting Djokovic since he might not get in Belgrade till Thursday if he wins the US open?”

GZ: “If Novak makes the US Open singles final on Monday night, chances are he would need to have media all day Tuesday (if he wins Monday night) and then fly all day Wednesday which would mean one day to recover and train on Thursday prior to the tie. That is obviously not good preparation for anyone for a Davis Cup semifinal, especially having to change surfaces, but he is #1 in the world for a reason and could probably handle these circumstances better than most. Who knows, if Milos or Daniel makes a run late into the US Open they could be in the same situation.”

PL: “How has been the Canadian response to this once in a lifetime opportunity?”

GZ: “Unbelievable! It has been a great couple of years for Canadian tennis and the year that has unfolded in Davis Cup has been magical and historic. We have close to 500 seats confirmed in the Team Canada section for our fans from all over Canada (and some from Europe) to cheer us on against Serbia. We will also have a great TV production with Sportsnet (who will be at the venue) to ensure that those fans who could not make the trip have access to every breathtaking point!”

PL: “How do you feel Canadians will be received?”

GZ: “From a player perspective, I think our team will be very well-received particularly because many of them have ancestry or were even born in that part of the world so there is a familiarity there. That being said, just as we are all fiercely Canadian, Serbians are extremely loyal and when it comes down to it they will be cheering for the guys playing for their country, similar to what we would do here. That’s what it means to have home court advantage. From an operations perspective and for all our Canadian fans traveling to Belgrade, we know that the city and the Federation will be great hosts and we will be treated very well.”

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The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

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