Tennis madness sweeps UBC

France and Canada’s top tennis stars battled it out at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in February as UBC hosted the Davis Cup.

This was the first time in 20 years that the Davis Cup was held in Vancouver. Before the tennis stars took Point Grey by storm, Kavie Toor—UBC’s point man for hosting this international sporting event—shared his excitement with UBC Reports

As our preparation of the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre reaches fever pitch, I realize that regardless of the outcome, this event is going to make history. The tickets sold out in record time, and at over 16,000 spectators, this Davis Cup is the biggest to date in Canada.

I’ve been a tennis fan my whole life. I remember watching the last Davis Cup in Vancouver 20 years ago and being beside myself when Canadian Daniel Nestor upset No. 1 ranked Stefan Edberg of Sweden. Now we have a new generation of tennis stars emerging from Canada to bring back the Davis Cup excitement. I was lucky enough to take Milos Raonic and Vasik Pospisil, Canada’s top two players, on a tour; our campus and athletic facilities blew them away.

In early October, we began discussions with Tennis Canada to bring the Davis Cup to UBC.  We were not only competing with other cities but also with other venues in Vancouver.

The secret? We think our location, the intimate mid-size venue, our mix of students and local residents, the brand new tennis facility, and a strong working relationship with Tennis Canada were all part of it.

This is really an exciting part of the Olympic legacy and it reminds me of the 2010 Winter Games. Both have a big international profile, both can make an impact on sports at the grassroots level, and both require a massive effort to organize. It will take more than 500 people to pull off a great Davis Cup: event staff, local and international media, security, coaches, trainers, and many others.

As for the facility, we’ve had to construct two bleacher units to fit in 500 additional seats, remove the ice, install a tennis court, large video boards and hawk -eye cameras and build a broadcast compound and a media press room.