Anger over Auckland Davis Cup hosting

DAVID LONG
Last updated 10:54 31/01/2013

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Lebanon Davis Cup captain Hussein Badreddine has hit out at the International Tennis Federation for forcing the country to play this weekend's tie in Auckland rather than Beirut.

When countries play each other in the Davis Cup they alternate who the host nation is.

New Zealand play Lebanon in Albany from tomorrow, but it should have been Lebanon's turn to host the tie.

However, the ITF would not accept Lebanon hosting the tie for security reasons and also refused to allow them to take it to a neutral venue in Cairo, Egypt.

Badreddine, who arrived in Auckland with his team on Sunday is furious that any home field advantage was taken away from Lebanon and given to New Zealand.

He believes the ITF over reacted to the assassination of internal security forces intelligence bureau chief brigadier general Wissam al-Hasan on October 19.

"It was really surprising why they took this decision because we had a murder in October, then there is also the situation with Syria, because there are many problems on the border," Badreddine said.

"But we would play in Beirut and there are 60kms from the border to Beirut.

"They did give us the chance to host it in another country, so I chose Cairo because there are clay courts there and we are more clay court type players.

"Unfortunately, one week after we had the OK for this from the Egyptian embassy, there were many problems with the presidency (in Egypt) and they (ITF) also refused having the tie in Cairo.

"They didn't give us another chance on where we could host it, because I wanted to then host it in Dubai.

"Someone from the ITF sent me an email saying 'no more Dubai, we're going straight to Auckland.'

"So we have had to come here and play the tie."

Badreddine says this is the first time the ITF have taken a tie away from Lebanon.

It is unlikely that they'll beat New Zealand this weekend and they should next play Sri Lanka in April. 

As they have never played each other in a full tie before, the host nation will be decided by the toss of a coin.

Badreddine is adamant that if Lebanon win that toss, the tie won't be taken away from them again.

"We know it is safe in Lebanon," he said.

"I am 100 per cent sure we would play in Lebanon. The tie won't be played in Sri Lanka or Dubai, because there is no sense in not having it in Lebanon."

"I will not accept anything else if we win the toss."

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