BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Davis Cup final between Belgium and Britain will go ahead despite Brussels being placed on maximum alert over the threat of an imminent attack, local organizers and the International Tennis Federation said on Monday.
The British team, featuring Andy and Jamie Murray, are bidding to win the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936 and will face Belgium, who have never won the competition, on clay in the city of Ghent, some 55 km (34 miles) north west of Brussels.
Tennis Vlaanderen, which administers tennis in the region, has already talked to the interior ministry, police and independent security experts.
“It’s definitely going ahead,” a spokeswoman said.
The final will be played from Friday to Sunday.
Soldiers were patrolling the streets of Brussels, where shopping centers and schools were closed, on the third day of a security lockdown, as police hunted a suspected Islamist militant on the run since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
The International Tennis Federation said extra security measures have been put in place for the final.
“The ITF and Royal Belgian Tennis Federation (RBTF), in consultation with the relevant officials and our risk assessment and security advisers, are closely monitoring the situation in Belgium and specifically in Ghent. As of today there are no changes to the previously published start times for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Belgium and Britain,” the ITF said in a statement.
“We are taking every necessary step to ensure the safety of the teams, the spectators, the media and all working staff.”
(Changes bearing to north west (from north east) in second para.)
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Justin Palmer