POSTED: September 19th 2008

From bull fighting arena to Davis Cup court

Las Ventas: dual purpose /
Las Ventas: dual purpose /

Special Correspondent / Sports Features Communications

MADRID: The Madrid 2016 team proved their transformable venue prowess by turning the bull fighting arena Las Ventas into the world’s second largest tennis court to host the Davis Cup semi-final.

Capacity crowds in the Spanish capital over the weekend saw Spain - inspired by Rafael Nadal - beat the United States 4-1 and progress to the final against Argentina.

The venue houses 21,000 seats and was easily transformed for the event in only five days. Mercedes Coghen, Madrid 2016 Bid leader explained: “We were always confident that the transformation of Las Ventas would enable competitors to perform at their best and provide spectators with fantastic opportunities to cheer on the tennis players.

“The Davis Cup semi-final was a a perfect opportunity to demonstrate our organizational skills along with the passion for life and sport of Madrileños."

Spanish tennis officials selected the Plaza de Toros Las Ventas in preference to three coastal cities despite objections from Wimbledon and Olympic champion Nadal, ironically, that the city’s altitude would favour the Americans.

Instead home advantage enhanced by the Madrid crowd assisted the Spanish, especially David Ferrer when he scored a crucial victory over Andy Roddick in a five-set thriller to hand the hosts a morale-boosting 2-0 lead over the defending champions at the end of the first day.

The dramatic atmosphere, with the crowd cheering Spanish points with drum beats, trumpets and chants of "Ole, Ole, Ole," was maintained right through to the decisive singles on the final day.

Madrid 2016 bid plans envisage a permanent 21,750-seat tennis facility close to the river Manzanares called the Magic Box which will be ready to host the Mutua Madrileña Masters next May.

Keywords · Madrid 2016 · Rafael Nadal · David Ferrer · Mercedes Coghen · Las Ventas

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