Andy Murray and Great Britain’s team are likely to experience a cacophony like they have never heard before when the Davis Cup final gets underway on Friday.
The squad arrived in Belgium by two private jets on Monday lunchtime and later arrived at a very tightly configured Flanders Expo venue that should generate a fearsome noise.
Murray and Kyle Edmund underwent an intense hitting session together, further suggesting that the 20-year-old from Yorkshire will be plunged in for the most testing of debuts.
Great Britain's Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith (left) talks with Andy Murray during practice
Smith watches on as Murray takes part in hitting practice with Edmund at Flanders Expo
Four large temporary stands have been crammed into the exhibition hall around the freshly laid clay court, accommodating 13,000 spectators on each of the three days beneath a relatively low roof.Andy Murray and the Great Britain team land in Ghent and... DAVIS CUP Q&A: Britain set for final against Belgium in... Tim Henman stands up for Andy Murray following criticism... Andy Murray steps up training ahead of Great Britain's... Share this article Share
It is very much in contrast to last year’s final staged in Lille, which saw an indoor court built in one half of the city’s state-of-the-art football stadium, creating a vast and impressive venue. After delaying their journey for 24 hours, the British party were in relaxed mood when they got into town yesterday lunchtime after landing at a private airport 20 miles away.
Despite that, the issue of security continues to loom large in a city which is 30 miles from Brussels, although at the venue - which is still being constructed for tennis after hosting an international food fair - it was far from suffocating.
Murray reaches for a backhand during a practice session at Flanders Expo on Monday evening
Edmund and Murray undergoes some intensive hitting practice at Flanders Expo
Kyle Edmund plays a forehand during a practice session at Flanders Expo ahead of the Davis Cup
Britain (from left to right): 1. Rob Hill (physio), 2. Josh Murray (Andy Murray's account executive), 3. Matt Little (physical trainer), 4. James Ward (player), 5. Ken Skupski (hitter), 6. Andy Murray (player), 7. Dominic Inglot (player), 8. Dan Evans (player), 9. Leon Smith (captain), 10. Nick Weal (coach), 11. Roger Dalton (stringer), 12. Kyle Edmund (player), 13. Jamie Murray (player), 14. John Dolan (press officer) 15. Louis Cayer (coach)
It was announced that Thursday’s draw ceremony has been switched to the more easily controllable Expo from a historic city centre music venue.
All bags and backpacks will have to be checked into lockers outside during the match, but the International Tennis Federation assured that unless the situation changes the match will go ahead.
‘In consultation with the relevant officials and our risk assessment and security advisers, we are closely monitoring the situation in Belgium and specifically in Ghent,’ it read. ‘As of today there are no changes to the previously published start times for the Davis Cup.’
Murray is getting used to the indoor clay surface ahead of the final of the Davis Cup on Friday
Trains across the border from Lille were suspended on Monday, but it was possible to travel from Brussels via Eurostar. The main station was relatively quiet, but overland trains were running, even if the capital’s metro remained closed.
Schools and universities were shut in Brussels, but open in Ghent, the country’s third largest city, where the security threat is considered one rung lower. A picturesque city full of waterways, it seemed calm enough with people going about their business, hardly threatening for the several thousand British fans expected.
Murray and Edmund talk to each other during practice in the build up to the Davis Cup final
A general view of the court during a practice session at Flanders Expo as Edmund and Murray practice
Captain Leon Smith talks with Edmund during a practice session at Flanders Expo
More prosaically, GB Captain Leon Smith pronounced himself pleased with the temporary clay surface laid down at the Expo. These are not always easy to drop into venues, but this one looks firm and solid. There were seven players in all who travelled — Dan Evans and doubles specialist Ken Skupski added to the original five — although it would be a major surprise if their role transpires to be anything more than being hitting partners.RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Andy Murray and the Great Britain team land in Ghent and... DAVIS CUP Q&A: Britain set for final against Belgium in... Tim Henman stands up for Andy Murray following criticism... Andy Murray steps up training ahead of Great Britain's... Share this article Share