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MTS Centre loses Davis Cup to Vancouver

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Local tennis fans who plunked down $25 deposits in the hope of seeing Davis Cup tennis at the MTS are about to get their money back.

As reported in the Free Press, Tennis Canada awarded the Davis Cup tie between Canada and Spain on Feb. 1-3 to Vancouver and its 5,100-seat UBC Thunderbird Stadium. (It will be expanded to 6,400 seats for the tie.)

Depending on the bank or credit provider, True North Sports & Entertainment – which spearheaded the Winnipeg bid along with Tennis Manitoba – estimated the refunds will be processed in the next three to five business days.

Kevin Donnelly, senior vice-president and general manager at True North, said he was in no way discouraged by Tennis Canada’s decision.

"The response from the public was key in creating a very strong case for Winnipeg. We now have a very open door and have enjoyed tremendous dialogue with Tennis Canada on the potential of future events," he said.

A five-day ticket deposit drive in late October saw nearly 2,400 Winnipeggers put down $25 each.

Michael Downey, president and CEO of Tennis Canada, acknowledged the support that Winnipeggers showed for the event. Calgary was the other city in consideration to host it.

"That gesture goes to show Winnipeg is passionate about the sport and certainly capable of supporting a major tennis event in the future," he said.

"We had three viable cities and venues to host this tie at, but ultimately it has to come down to where the captain and players feel they have the best chance to win. We had strong bids from both Calgary and Winnipeg, and while their time to host will surely come, Vancouver was chosen as the best option for this tie and we are excited to be going back there."

The B.C. government has provided Tennis Canada with a $100,000 hosting support grant, which was a large contributing factor in the decision to return to Vancouver, Tennis Canada said.

The winner of the February tie will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and will also be assured of keeping their spot among the top 16 tennis nations for the following year.

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