Davis Cup build-up hit by court row

LITHUANIA yesterday unleashed a strong verbal volley ahead of this weekend’s Davis Cup showdown with Ireland in Dublin.

The visiting outfit’s team boss, Remigijus Balzekas, stated at the media briefing for the Europe-Africa Group Two second-round tie that he is unhappy with the amount of space near the umpire’s chair on the indoor court at the Fitzwilliam Club.

And he intends to raise the issue with the ITF-appointed tie supervisor, Gerry Armstrong, the assistant referee at Wimbledon recently.

“Of course the supervisor will tell us if everything is okay,” said Balzekas, whose side shocked Great Britain in the first round in Vilnius last March.

“To play doubles on this court is really very tough. It’s too small I think.

“We’ll ask him (ITF supervisor), and maybe he’ll come to the training session. It’s not because it’s bad or good, but it’s a bit dangerous for players.

“Rules are rules, and we must keep to the rules.”

Tennis Ireland chief executive Des Allen said he was very surprised by the Lithuanians’ complaint. “We’ve had a number of Davis Cup ties on the indoor court at Fitzwilliam, including the most recent one, against Turkey last March,” pointed out Allen.

“And no other team has made an issue of the amount of space alongside the court. Now, we’ll have to wait and see what the ITF supervisor decides.”

Meanwhile, Ireland boss Sean Sorensen confirmed his injured son Louk would not be participating in the tie to decide which country advances to a promotion play-off in September against either Slovenia or Bulgaria. James Cluskey will fill in for the Irish No 2, who is suffering from a pelvic infection, and Cluskey will link up with Conor Niland, James McGee and Barry King.

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