Delray may bid for Davis Cup

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Delray Beach is trying to put another feather in its cap. Or give itself another bounce.

Thursday night, its city commission will decide whether to make an official bid to win the right to host one of the world's most prestigious tennis tournaments, the Davis Cup.

Tennis in Delray Beach is serious stuff. So serious that Robert Wojcik moved here just to teach tennis in the shadow of Delray's stadium court.

"I strongly believe that South Florida is the Mecca of tennis," said Wojcik.

Now city leaders are trying to bring to that stadium court the Davis Cup finals, a tournament of teams from different countries featuring the world's best. They already host a smaller ATP event every year.

"Davis Cup is perhaps the most prestigious event in the world," said Wojcik.

The city says the event would draw at least $2 million in economic impact at restaurants, hotels and shops.

The city would be willing to pay the United States Tennis Association $400,000 to host the event if the Americans make the finals. More than half of that money they say is already covered by grants.

One commissioner doesn't expect taxpayers to get stuck with a bill.

"Because it's a worldwide event, I think it will be no problem to have sponsors jump on board," said city commissioner Adam Frankel.

But they're not selling tickets just yet.

The assistant city manager says that the stadium's relatively small $8,200 seat capacity could be a small negative. But Bob Barcinski says Delray is a tested competitor because the Davis Cup quarter finals were held here a few years back.

"Our stadium is a little smaller, but we also have the experience of working with the USTA. They love Delray Beach, they love our downtown," said Barcinski.

Wojcik is keeping his fingers crossed. He is hoping to coach his teenaged son to the top and says it helps to see role models up close.

City commissioners will vote to move forward with the proposal - or table it - at Thursday's city commission meeting.

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