Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram believes that Sweden have made a “stupid decision” in preventing fans from attending the Davis Cup tie between the two nations, starting today.
Having become embroiled in an international dispute over a visa to compete in Dubai last month, he said: “I think it was a wrong decision. Maybe it will open the door for other countries to make a stupid decision like this one. I think it’s going to be very bad to play without a crowd.”
Malmo city officials decided to keep spectators away because they said they could not guarantee security at the 4,000-seat Baltic Hall. More than 1,000 police have been employed with 10,000 anti-Israel demonstrators expected outside.
Ram’s doubles partner Harel Levy said: “We are here to play tennis. We are not here to talk about politics or terror.”
Israel are firm favourites to reach the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup World Group for the first time since 1987. The Swedes have been hit by injury with Robin Soderling (26) ruled out and Thomas Johannson (178) fighting to be fit. Johannson and Bjorn Rehnquist (219) will come up against an in-form Dudi Sela (63) and the experienced Levy (241) in the singles.