Getting ready for France-Serbia Davis Cup semifinal

I've been living in Lille for the past 15 years, so I've been really delighted to find out the Davis Cup tie between France and Serbia would take place here. It was quite easy to get tickets this time, contrary to the 2014 final, when it cost me a leg to buy tickets on the black market. I've got tickets for all three days.
If you plan to attend the tie and want to know more about the city of Lille, check out this article: Bienvenue à Lille for the Davis Cup final!

Lille

Lille

The tie will actually be played in Villeneuve d'Ascq, in the Lille suburbs, where the Stade Pierre Mauroy is located. Initially called the Grand Stade but renamed in honour of the former Lille mayor and French Prime Minister, Stade Pierre Mauroy is the home stadium of LOSC football team. One unique feature of the stadium is that half the pitch can be lifted and slid over the top of the other half, revealing a second lower level floor plan and surrounding seats called Boîte à Spectacles, with a flexible capacity of between 7,000 and 30,000. It hosted concerts, Eurobasket 2015, 2017 World Men's Handball Championship and of course the France-Switzerland Davis Cup final in 2014.
Below, a few pictures from the pitch and locker rooms, if you want to know more about the stadium check out this article: Stade Mauroy guided tour.

Stade Pierre Mauroy

Stade Pierre Mauroy

Stade Pierre Mauroy

Stade Pierre Mauroy

France and Serbia have only met once previously, when Serbia defeated France to win the Davis Cup title for the first time in the 2010 Final in Belgrade. This year, with Djokovic out with injury, France is the clear favorite to reach the final and challenge the winner of the semifinal opposing Belgium to Argentina. This would be France's 18th Davis Cup final.

2014 final, France vs Switzerland, Lille

My first Davis Cup tie was the historic final between France and Switzerland. And what a rollercoaster of emotions it was: the excitement when it was annonced Lille (my hometown) would stage the tie, the disappointement when I wasn't able to buy tickets, the relief when I managed to buy tickets. And the rest is history: Tsonga played despite an arm injury and blamed the crowd for his loss, Gasquet was overwhelmed by the events, half-dead Federer miraculously resurrected and played 3 best of five matches in 3 days, and Wawrinka led Switzerland to her first Davis Cup victory.

Despite the disappointment I'm happy to have been part of that crazy weekend; it might sounds cliché but the Davis Cup's atmosphere is really like no other!

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France vs Switzerland, Davis Cup 2014

France vs Switzerland, Davis Cup 2014

France vs Switzerland, Davis Cup 2014

France vs Switzerland, Davis Cup 2014

2015 quarterfinal, Belgium vs Canada, Middelkerke

My second Davis Cup tie, the first in Belgium. I first had in mind to make a trip to London, to go watch Great Britain and France battle at Queen's Club, but given the high price of tickets, I opted instead for a quick trip to the Belgian coast. I paid something like 60 euros for a 3-day pass, that's less than the price of a one-day ticket for the GB-France tie!
Matches were held on a temporary outdoor clay court, in the middle of the sand dunes. I sat between both group of supporters: Belgians on my left hand side, Canadians on my right. The atmosphere was quite good but sadly, the stands were far from full.
Davis Cup veteran Steve Darcis came form behind to get past hard court specialist Frank Dancevic in four sets, while David Goffin dispatched Frank Dancevic in straight sets. The next day, Ruben Bemelmans paired up with Davis Cup rookie Kim Coppejans to defeat Daniel Nestor and Adil Shamasdin in four tight sets. 3-0 for Belgium, back in the semifinals for the first time since 1999.

Middelkerke

Middelkerke

Belgium vs Canada, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Canada, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Canada, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Canada, Davis Cup 2015

2015 final, Belgium vs Great Britain, G(h)ent

Back to Belgium for my second Davis Cup final in 2 years, and this time in a totally different context: one week after Paris terrorists attacks, the government of Belgium imposed a security lockdown on Brussels, including the closure of shops, schools, public transportation. There were talks of cancelling the tie, the British team delayed travelling to Belgium due to the security concerns and a couple of days before the final I was not so sure to attend the event, honestly I was a bit scared.
In Ghent, 40 kms away from Brussels, everything was as usual, British fans were there in force to support their team, and I enjoyed watching the Murray brothers defeat the Darcis-Goffin pair.
The next day Andy Murray took down David Goffin in straight sets, and gave Great Britain her first Davis Cup victory since 1936. Five years beforehand, Brits were losing in the first round of Group II of the Europe/Africa Zone to Lithuania.

Belgium vs Great Britain, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Great Britain, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Great Britain, Davis Cup 2015

Belgium vs Great Britain, Davis Cup 2015

2017 semifinal, France vs Serbia, Lille

At first I was not interested in buying tickets: I had been really disappointed by the French team in 2014, and I had guessed it would be once again a nightmare to get tickets. But a friend of mine bought tickets and of course I couldn't resist any longer and I ended up buying tickets for the 3 days!
There won't be much suspense and France has already one foot in the final as Serbia's best players (Djokovic, Troicki and Tipsarevic) will miss the tie.

Camera are forbidden inside the stadium, so I'm not sure how I'll share this tie with you. In the meantime, enjoy a few videos from my 3 previous Davis Cup ties.

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