Photo by Manuel Gonzalez via DavisCup.com
Contrary to popular (American) belief and to the scheduling priorities of some top stars, it appears that Davis Cup is still very important to players and nations worldwide.
Despite suffering one of the largest earthquakes on record this weekend, Chile is moving forward with its plans to host Israel for this weekend’s Davis Cup tie. Via El Comercia (my Google translation):
The Chilean Davis Cup team is ready to play their series against Israel this weekend, despite the earthquake that struck much of the country on Saturday, confirmed player Nicolas Massu on Monday.
The player managed to arrive in Santiago on Monday from Miami, one of the few flights that have been landing at the capital’s international airport. The terminal was closed after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country early Saturday.
Massu, Chile’s No. 2 tennis player, said upon arrival that they are willing to play*, but the people of Chile are the most important.
The series is scheduled to be played in the port of Coquimbo, 460 miles north, where the quake was felt with less intensity and where there was no damage or casualties.
The president of the Tennis Federation of Chile, José Hinzpeter, said they want to continue with the plan and that Israeli players can travel overland to Coquimbo once they get close to Santiago.
The Israelis remained in Miami and only arrived Andy Ram has arrived in Chile. Hinzpeter admits that the series could be postponed to next week if Israeli players do not reach Chile in advance.
Fernando Gonzalez, Chile’s number one, was in Lima and was also trying to return home.
Speaking of Fernando Gonzalez, he left this message to his fellow Chileans on his website on Sunday:
I was watching TV and I found out about the earthquake. I’m so sad for the victims and families. I’m at Mexico City. This night I’ll fly to Lima to try to get a new flight to Santiago.
Thank God I could talk with my family after the earthquake. I watched TV all the time and I’m so sad with the news. It’s tough I can’t be in Chile. I’m praying. I would like to help with the reconstruction of my country.
I hope to see them again as soon as possible.
A big hug for everyone and ¡Fuerza Chile!
Fernando appears to be posting updates via his (still unverified) Twitter account.
The Olympic gold medal duo of Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu will be joined by Paul Capdeville and Jorge Aguilar on Team Chile. The Israeli team consists of Dudi Sela, Harel Levy, Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram. The teams are tied 1-1 in their head to head, with Israel winning at home in 2007, the teams’ last meeting. Click here for Davis Cup website.
*UPDATE* Tennis.com is reporting that Massu would prefer to postpone the tie for at least a couple days to allow for proper training:
Due to the devastating earthquake that struck Chile last weekend, Chilean Davis Cupper Nicolas Massu told Radio Cooperativa that it would have been better to delay this weekend’s upcoming tie against Israel.
“For us it would be ideal if the tie had been postponed at least two days, but this is what the International Tennis Federation decided,” said Massu, adding that he’s been unable to train since the quake struck.
“But the Israelis are in the same situation. We’ll be all equal.”
Which just confirms how seriously some players take their Davis Cup preparation!
*UPDATE #2* AS of Wednesday, the ITF announced that the Davis Cup tie will be delayed one day, starting on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin all 8 world group ties this weekend.