Great Britain's build up to the most important #Tennis fixture in their recent history has already been disrupted by security concerns after the Paris attacks. After their travel plans to Belgium had to be adjusted, there are still very real concerns about the fate of the Davis Cup final itself as the host country remains at the highest level of terror alert.
With the final due to begin on Friday, the organisers are still concerned. A spokesman for the International Tennis Federation expressed "great concerns" over the weekend about the threat (to the event) at present.
Delayed travel for British team
The British team had originally been due to travel to Ghent to finalise their preparations on Sunday. But the fears around terrorist attacks led to a delay in their departure from London by 24 hours, based on advice from the Foreign Office.
Messages from the team members on social media confirmed that they had indeed landed safely at Flanders Airport on Monday. The team seemed in positive mood and far from bedraggled after their journey, even commenting: “Watch out @DavidGOfficial!”
The unexpected delay added a slight inconvenience for Leon Smith and his men, as they attempt to bring the Davis Cup crown back to these shores for the first time since the mid-1930s. However they continued their focus ahead of the final by practising at the Queen's Club on Sunday.
Henman backs Murray to regain his form
Britain have a major weapon of their own to Belgium's chances in the final in the shape of Andy Murray. He will have mixed emotions after his World Tour Finals results at the O2 Arena last week. Two defeats and just the one victory may have been slightly less than the world number two was hoping for from the end of season ATP event.
Murray may well benefit in the short term for having the weekend "off" from the rigors of battling for the title at the O2, as Novak Djokovic once again proved too strong for the rest of the field. Roger Federer could not repeat the feat of beating the Serbian in the group stages in the final itself, leaving Murray no doubt happy to remain as second in the world rankings.
Tim Henman has publicly backed Murray to find his form against Belgium despite his London defeats. The former British number one and Davis Cup team member has also stated that he will not be in attendance in Ghent. He had originally intended to travel with his wife and three daughters but has decided to stay at home and watch the events unfold from there.
Heightened security alert in Belgium
Belgium has heightened its security alert, with the capital Brussels continuing a security lockdown and on the highest level of alert it can adopt. They have referred to a “serious and imminent threat” as worries persist over an attack similar in gravity to that in Paris recently. The three-day final in Ghent, some 35 miles away from Brussels, will also witness additional security protocols given its obvious high profile.
British fans remain undaunted
The British team will no doubt hope that their travelling fans are undeterred from attending given the worrying times. In excess of 1,000 Brits are believed to be planning a trip to Ghent, with the British Association of Tennis Supporters stating that although clearly concerned about the situation, most still seem determined to travel. Recent advice from the Foreign Office to British citizens travelling to the capital was to avoid congregating anywhere that there “is a high concentration of people.”