Posted:04/25/2011 8:23 PM
Local tennis fans who didn't score tickets to the Davis Cup quarterfinal between the United States and Spain might still have a chance to see the world's top-ranked player, Rafael Nadal, in action.
"We are open to having an open training session for people if they want to watch us," Pedro Hernandez , the Spanish team manager, said Monday. "The team is very easygoing, and they like to promote tennis when they're together."
Hernandez, who arrived in town Saturday and returns to Spain today, is the first in a series of tennis officials who will visit Austin this week. Two United States Tennis Association officials are slated to be in town today, and Thursday brings the official site visit of the Erwin Center. The Spanish tennis federation's director general, Marcos Romagosa, and a representative of the International Tennis Federation will be on hand for that tour.
Last week, the international federation denied Spain's protest of the acrylic court to be used inside the Erwin Center on July 8-10, when the Davis Cup tie will be played. That court, from Baltimore-based Premier Concepts, will not installed until the weekend before play.
On Monday, when Hernandez took a quick look, the Erwin Center was empty and stripped down to its concrete floor.
"It would be impossible to make a point with Roddick serving," Hernandez joked about the bare floor.
Hernandez spent most of his time in Austin checking out hotels. The Four Seasons, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin and the downtown Hilton were among those on his short list. He'll have a meeting with Davis Cup captain Albert Costa next week to pick a hotel. Hernandez said the Spanish contingent, which includes players, a captain, doctor, racquet stringer and individual coaches, could be between 17 to 25 people.
The Spanish federation's ticket allotment, however, is much larger .
"The rules of the Davis Cup is that you have the right to 10 percent of the tickets. We have 10 percent of each category," Hernandez said.
The Erwin Center will hold about 15,000 for the first Davis Cup match in Austin's history.
"I don't think 1,000 persons are coming from Spain, but there is a lot of interest (in the United States) in Spain, not only in Texas but in Miami," Hernandez said. "We've received many, many calls at the Spanish tennis federation asking for tickets."
He added the team is eager to do something in conjunction with the Spanish community here, whether that be a reception or a clinic.
"They will decide what is best to do and then the team will do it, for sure," Hernandez said.