Portland to cash in on Davis Cup
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Excitement was growing for this weekend's upcoming Davis Cup, pitting the United States versus Russia, and not just among tennis fans.
Local officials on Wednesday estimated the event would bring at least $7.1 million in visitor spending to the state, through expenses including lodging, restaurants and transportation.
More than 60 percent of the ticket buyers were from outside Oregon, according to the Oregon Sports Authority, which released the estimate on Wednesday.
"It's a phenomenal figure, by far the highest percentage of out-of-state spectators we've ever seen for an event," said Drew Mahalic, chairman of the Oregon Sports Authority.
The Davis Cup, which gets under way on Friday, sold out in less than 30 minutes when tickets went on sale. Additional tickets went on sale this week after the hardcourt was installed at Memorial Coliseum and more seating was created.
The U.S. team, under captain Patrick McEnroe, includes sixth-ranked Andy Roddick, 13th-ranked James Blake, and the top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.
They'll be vying for the Davis Cup against Nikolay Davydenko, ranked No. 4 in the world, as well as Igor Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny. Shamil Tarpischev is the captain of the team.
The once-dominant United States has 31 Davis Cup titles but none in 12 years, the longest span without an American victory. Pete Sampras last led the team to victory over Russia on clay in Moscow in 1995.
The United States last hosted the Davis Cup Final in 1992, in Fort Worth, Texas. Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe defeated Switzerland.
Memorial Coliseum, which seats about 12,800, has hosted two previous Davis Cup events, in 1981 and 1984, both U.S. semifinal victories over Australia.
"I think we're expecting a rowdy crowd just based solely on the fact that it sold out in about 17 minutes," Roddick said. "That shows us people here want to be here and they're excited about being here. And so are we."
The draw for the event was scheduled for Thursday.