We watched Great Britain defeat Australia in the Davis Cup- and the Manchester crowd did not disappoint

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International tennis is calling the AO Arena its home for a week- and we experienced the genuine passion of Manchester’s tennis fans

Light shows, a DJ and plenty of colour greeted us as we made the trip to the AO Arena. This week see’s tennis take centre stage in Manchester, with international stars of the game representing Great Britain, France, Australia and Switzerland. 

The AO Arena is a fitting venue for top level sporting events, and as I sat down ready for the start of play it quickly became apparent that the near sell-out crowd was more than ready. Great Britain faced Australia in their opening fixture of Group B, and following rousing editions of both nation’s national albums, the players were ready. 

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Tennis is a sport in which silence is demanded of the crowd so as to not impact the concentration of the players. This was reaffirmed before each match with an arena announcement, but at any given chance the crowd made their voices heard. 

A DJ kept the atmosphere going in between matches, and every several legs of play were interspersed with a song to maintain the good vibes. A further atmosphere addition came via the crowd themselves. 

Both Great Britain and Australia were backed by their own brass band ensemble. The sound of brass music coming from the stands of an indoor international tennis tournament is something I never expected to hear, but I did and it was unique. The umpire calling for silence from the crowd whilst the toot of a trombone floated on the air made more than a few fans in the arena- including myself- chuckle. 

The action on the court was dramatic, tense, and tight. GB’s opening match was a nail biting  thriller involving their own Jack Draper and Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis. Draper won the match 2-1 and came from behind against his opponent. Two of the three sets were decided on a tie breaker, including the winning moment from Draper. When the crucial match point was scored, the AO Arena rose to its feet and cheered for their successful player. 

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Following his match, Draper spoke to the Manchester crowd. “It was a real battle. "There's an amazing crowd in here. It was amazing to play my first Davis Cup tie here and I'm so happy Leon (GB captain) trusted me and put me out here today."  

The day was one of fun and entertainment. Manchester has welcomed the Davis Cup with open arms, and the AO Arena has been a welcoming host venue. The best part is, the week is only half done and there is plenty more tennis to come. 

A packed out AO Arena watches Great Britain in action in the Davis CupA packed out AO Arena watches Great Britain in action in the Davis Cup
A packed out AO Arena watches Great Britain in action in the Davis Cup

Manchester is known for having passionate sports fans, be that football, cricket or rugby to name just a few. Although major tennis tournaments are somewhat of a rarity for the city, the hosting of the Davis Cup has given tennis fans the opportunity to watch international sport on their doorstep, and they did not disappoint. 

Great Britain's second match against Switzerland is sold out, but with tickets available for the final match against France as well as Australia v France and Australia v Switzerland, you've still got plenty of chances to get along to the AO Arena and take in the premier tennis before it wraps up in Manchester on Sunday September 17.

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