France choose Lille hard court for Davis Cup final v Belgium
PARIS (AP) France is going back to Lille for the Davis Cup final against Belgium in November and bumped out rugby.
The northern city on the Belgian border was picked over the brand new U Arena in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris, the French Tennis Federation said on Tuesday.
France played in Lille at Stade Pierre Mauroy at the weekend, beating Serbia 3-1 to reach the final. That semifinal was on clay; the French will lay a hard court for the final from Nov. 24-26.
The France rugby team was set to face Japan at Stade Pierre Mauroy on Nov. 25 but the French Rugby Federation said it agreed to move the test to another city yet to be picked.
Stade Pierre Mauroy set a Davis Cup semifinal attendance record for a day and a tie. More than 18,000 spectators attended on Sunday, and almost 48,000 over the three days.
According to the International Tennis Federation, a record 27,448 fans watched Roger Federer help Switzerland defeat France in the 2014 final in the same stadium, the biggest crowd ever to watch an official tennis match.
The soccer stadium seats 27,500 in its tennis configuration and the roof will be closed for the final.
Nine-time champion France lost its three previous finals, in 2002, 2010 and 2014. It seeks its first Davis Cup title since 2001.
Belgium, in the final for the second time in three years, seeks its first title.