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Davis Cup Finals group stage to be played in Sept

March 17, 2022 23:52 IST
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Image used for representational purposes

IMAGE: Image used for representational purposes. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Four cities -- Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Malaga -- will host the group stage for this year's Davis Cup Finals as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) confirmed another tweak to the format of its historic team event.

 

The 2022 Finals will see 16 nations compete in groups based in each of the four cities from Sept 14-18 with eight teams going forward to the finals from Nov. 23-27 in a fifth city which is yet to be announced.

Twelve winning nations from the qualifiers held earlier this month will join Croatia, who get an automatic place as last year's finalists, and wild cards Serbia and Britain.

The Russians will not be able to defend their title after the ITF suspended the memberships of Russia and Belarus and withdrew their entries from team competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.

The ITF said the replacement wild card spot has been awarded to Canada, who lost 4-0 to the Netherlands in the qualifiers.

The draw for the group stage, which will be played from September 14-18, is scheduled to be held in London on March 31.

Last year's Davis Cup Finals featured 18 teams and was held in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck with the final in Madrid.

The event, started in 1900, was controversially revamped from its traditional 'home and away tie' format in 2019 with an 18-nation Finals taking place in Madrid after the ITF did a lucrative deal with Spanish investment group Kosmos.

ITF President David Haggerty said the new format would help retain "traditional elements" of the competition and bring the action to more audiences."

Britain's Lawn Tennis Association said it had agreed a five-year deal for hosting the group phase and that it would be taken around the country.

Glasgow will become the first British venue to host a Davis Cup tie since 2018.

"This is brilliant news for British tennis fans and we are thrilled to be bringing the excitement of the Davis Cup back home in 2022," LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said.

"We are keen to bring other events to this country and remain in the running to host the Billie Jean King Cup finals later this year."

US WNBA All-Star Griner's detention in Russia extended

Seven-times WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner was detained in February after arriving at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from New York, for the possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil.

IMAGE: Seven-times WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner was detained in February after arriving at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from New York, for the possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Seven-times WNBA All-Star player Brittney Griner's detention in Russia for the possession of vape cartridges containing hash oil has been extended until May 19, Russian news agency TASS reported.

TASS said the Khimkinsky court of the Moscow region ruled to detain Griner for at least two more months.

"The court granted the petition of the investigation and extended the term of U.S. citizen Griner's detention until May 19," TASS quoted the court as saying.

The WNBA and its players association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ekaterina Kalugina, a member of Public Monitoring Commission, a semi-official body with access to Russian prisons, told TASS Griner was sharing a cell with two other women with no previous convictions, adding that Griner's only issue was that the prison beds were too short for her 6'7" frame.

Without identifying Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury, the Russian Customs Service said earlier this month a player was detained in February after arriving at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from New York.

TASS identified the player as Griner, citing a source. The Phoenix Mercury team, without elaborating, said: "We are aware of and are closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia."

A scan of the player's luggage revealed cartridges containing "liquid with hashish oil", and a criminal case has been opened carrying a possible sentence of five to 10 years in prison, the customs service said.

It was not clear when in February Griner, who plays in Russia during the WNBA's winter off-season, was detained.

Her detention was announced after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Earlier this month, the US warned against travel to Russia and said its embassy there had limited ability to assist citizens.

At a joint press conference with Moldova President Maia Sandu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration had assigned an embassy team to work on Griner's case.

Griner has won Olympic gold medals with the U.S. national teams in 2016 and 2021.

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