Tennis in a baseball stadium? Sure, why not?
The USTA has confirmed that Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will host the first-round Davis Cup tie between the U.S. and Great Britain in February of next year. For the first time since 1992, the U.S. has chosen to host the tie on an outdoor clay court. It's also the first time the U.S. Davis Cup team will play in a baseball stadium. Based on the photo above, the court will be laid down in the outfield with around 8,000 temporary seats.
Since the Davis Cup draw was announced in September, talk of the Americans abandoning their traditional tactic of laying down lightning-fast indoor hard courts in favor of clay courts picked up steam. American No. 1 John Isner and Sam Querrey's games are built for fast courts that reward big hitting, and Britain's No. 1, Andy Murray, also has his best results on quicker surfaces. But while Isner and Querrey have both won titles on red clay, Murray has not. It is by far his least favorite surface and the Americans are perfectly happy to exploit that advantage.
The choice of surface may also discourage Murray from even making the trip. With the tie being played the week after the Australian Open, Murray may not want to disrupt his training to play on clay after a month of hard courts, especially after his back problems at the end of this year. “Our squad is ready to go up against a tough adversary in the British squad,” said U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier. “Andy Murray is one of the strongest players in the sport and we expect our home crowd to come out and support us in what will be a thrilling Davis Cup tie.”