The Return of Davis Cup to Forest Hills for the first time since 1959 will be a private affair.
The South Africa vs. Venezuela Davis Cup series, slated to be played at the historic West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills September 18-19, will now not be open to the general public.
Tennis South Africa, the designated home nation for this Group II tie by the International Tennis Federation, has chosen to not pay production costs to stage a tie open to the public and thus the matches will only be open to no more than 200 people in the stadium by invitation only. Fees for permits and security and other logistics need to be paid in order for the matches to be open to the public. The West Side Tennis Club, which was proactively contacted by Tennis South Africa to ask if it could host the tie, has already invested $20,000 to have its Stadium Court resurfaced for the Davis Cup matches.
“We might be able to reverse this at the last minute if someone steps up financially,” said Jason Weir-Smith, tennis director at the West Side Tennis Club.
South Africa is expected to be led by Lloyd Harris, who has been one of the break-out stories of the 2021 U.S. Open with upsets of Olympic silver medalist Karen Khachanov and Wimbledon semifinalist and No. 7 seed Denis Shapovalov.
The South Africa vs. Venezuela best-of-five match series will be played the weekend after the conclusion of the U.S. Open on a hard court in the 98-year-old 13,000-seat historic horseshoe shaped stadium, which hosted the finals of the U.S. Championships and U.S. Open from 1923 to 1977. The stadium last hosted Davis Cup in 1959 when Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser led Australia to the Davis Cup title with a 3-2 victory over the United States team led by Alex Olmedo, Butch Buchholz and Barry MacKay. The tie will mark the first time that Davis Cup will be played in the New York City area since the 1981 USA vs. Czechoslovakia Davis Cup quarterfinal at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows featuring John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.
Davis Cup by Rakuten is the largest annual international team competition in world sport. One of the cornerstones of the tennis calendar, Davis Cup provides players with the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport. Founded by Hall of Famer Dwight Davis in 1900, Davis Cup began as a challenge match between USA and British Isles, with that first event being held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, Mass. Today, more than 120 nations compete in the annual event.