As Venezuela spirals into chaos, just finding food can be difficult. Sports isn’t the first thing on most people’s minds.
Now the South American country’s national tennis team has found a new home in Doral, and its first match of 2019 — part of the vaunted Davis Cup competition — will be held September 14 and 15 at Doral Park Country Club against Ecuador.
Alejandro Latachezki, a Venezuelan entrepreneur, is one of the main organizers and sponsors for this Davis Cup match. He says Venezuela’s situation “is not fit to host such an event.” The nation’s tennis federation decided to search for a mutually acceptable location and picked Doral. “For the players, there’s nothing like playing at home Latachezki says. “But Doral’s community welcomed the players warmly.”
Back in 2017, four years after Nicolás Maduro assumed office in the country and Venezuela became an international pariah, the tennis team moved its matches to Doral. At the time, the team had almost never hosted Davis Cup matches outside of Venezuela.
That year, team captain Yohny Romero led Venezuelan players defeated the Bahamas with a 5 to 0 final result.
In 2018, Venezuela did not host any matches. The team defeated Guatemala in a competition held in Guatemala City, then lost to Uruguay in Montevideo.
This year, the Venezuelan Tennis Federation submitted a request to the Davis Cup Committee to play on neutral ground. “The Davis Cup committee approved the request from the Venezuelan Tennis Federation taking into account the current risk environment in Venezuela, and after consultation with the [International Tennis Federation] and the visiting nation,” said an ITF spokesperson who declined to be named.
Venezuela will be represented by team captain Maurice Ruah and players Jordi Muñoz-Abreu, Luis David Martínez, Roberto Maytin, and Juan Lugo. Ecuador’s team captain is Raul Viver and his team includes Emilio Gomez, Roberto Quiroz, Gonzalo Escobar, Diego Hidalgo and Antonio Cayetano.
The Davis Cup finals will be played in November in Madrid.
The match starts at 10 a.m. at Doral Park Country Club. Prices range from $20 to $100 for the two-day event.