A unique opportunity for the Czechs, others will lose their atmosphere, Štěpánek BJK Cup mold

A test of the new format of the women’s tennis tournament, the new Billie Jean King Cup, awaits Prague. Radek Štěpánek is also in charge of spectator participation and ambiance in the O2 arena.

At the end of the week, a dozen of the best women’s tennis teams in the world will meet at Vysočany in Prague. The base groups program will start here on Monday November 1 and the finals will be on the program on Saturday. The new format of the old Fed Cup is embarrassing. Especially on the first days of the grand final, some participants are very worried.

“We play against Canada at ten in the morning on Monday. How many people are going to come, two hundred? We played the finals in Perth two years ago in front of 15,000 spectators. Now it’s going to be a loser, I have to prepare the players for that “,.

The matches will be played in the O2 arena and the O2 universe, while the first hall will accommodate 12,000 people, the second only 2,000. Tickets are available as packages. A day ticket for the upper ring of the great hall costs 890 crowns and for the lower part 2,290. A four-day group pass costs 1,960 and 4,960 crowns. Tickets for group matches at the Universe can be purchased for 990 crowns per day.

“I agree with the French, it will be crowded. So it was in the final of the new Davis Cup in Madrid. Yes, it’s great for the home team. A unique opportunity for the Czech girls , but probably for the last many Instead, they could play three times a year at home, for example, ”is angry the former Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek.

He also likes to remember the Davis Cup duels he played on the opposing field and there weren’t many Czech fans in the stands.

“It’s always about the national audience. Whether it’s matches in Serbia or Argentina, every time I remember it I get goosebumps. It was a unique atmosphere. And that ‘that’s why we played the team competition, “he said.

Since fans buy tickets as packages for the whole day, it is not certain that everyone will make it to the morning battles of the foreign teams.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, about a third of the capacity is sold, which is a large number so far. For the Czechs’ matches on Monday and Thursday, it’s about 55%. The spokesperson for the Association Czech tennis player Karel Tejkal told Aktuálně.cz.

Compared to the initial assault in early October, where fan interest was huge, it’s stagnation. “This is due to the growing number of people infected with the coronavirus. I think when Barbora Krejčíková appears on the pitch on Thursday, as she is the first to train in the arena, spectators will understand that the event will take place and another wave of interest will come, ”says Tejkal.

The organizers have put in place strict hygiene measures for the tournament so that the situation in the pandemic stands is not endangered. Tennis fans must present a vaccination certificate or a negative test with a ticket to the turnstiles. “And we, as the organizers, recommend the vaccination to everyone,” added the spokesperson.

The Czechs will start the base group finals against the Germans (November 1 from 5 p.m.) and then continue against the Swiss (November 4 from 5 p.m.). The group winners will face off for Saturday’s final in Friday’s semi-final.

Winston Ferguson

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