Boise State tennis coach Greg Patton always dreams big. Now the exciteable coach is trying to lure some of the sports biggest names to Boise for the Davis Cup.
Working with Idaho Tennis Association Executive Director Steve Bickham and local businesses such as the Knitting Factory and The Grove Hotel, the group submitted a bid to the United States Tennis Association to host the quarterfinals April 5-7 at Taco Bell Arena.
The group submitted the bid Jan. 6, and Patton expects the USTA to make its decision within the next 10 days. Tacoma is among the cities in the running, Bickham said.
Im confident but nervous. Im thinking its going to happen, said Patton, who has deep ties with the USTA and several of the players on the U.S. team. Im thinking the buyer wants to buy.
The U.S. plays Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup Feb. 1-3. If the U.S. wins, it would host the winner of Serbia and Belgium. The U.S. and Serbia, led by the top-ranked player in the world, Novak Djokovic, are expected to advance.
Boises indoor facility and altitude are seen as plusses for the U.S. team in a potential meeting with Djokovic, Bickham said.
I honestly think were better than 50-50. Weve got a very good chance at this, which is kind of surprising to me, Bickham said. When we first started talking about it, I thought it was a pipe dream. Itll never happen. Now I really believe we might get it.
The Davis Cup is an annual team tournament between nations. Each team consists of two singles players and a doubles team. If Boise wins its bid, there would be two singles matches Friday, April 5, a doubles match April 6 and two singles matches April 7.
Each match is worth a point, and a team needs three points to advance.
The U.S. team is captained by Jim Courier and is expected to have John Isner and Sam Querrey for singles and Bob and Mike Bryan, the worlds No. 1 doubles team.
Patton has strong connections with Courier (coached by Patton as a junior and played an exhibition match against John McEnroe in Boise), Querrey (coached by Patton as a junior) and the Bryan brothers (played World TeamTennis for Patton and the Idaho Sneakers in Boise).
Courier also planned to be part of the now-defunct sports-oriented Legacy development in Eagle.
Hes got a soft spot in his heart for this place, Bickham said of Courier.
Patton said the players are hoping for Boise.
The players are already looking kind of ahead. Theres a little bit of pressure on the USTA to come to Boise, Patton said.
The city has drawn large crowds for tennis events in the past. Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova have played in Boise in the past, largely because of Patton.
Patton is counting on the fans to turn out to support this event, too. In fact, hes based his bid on it.
The USTA typically requires a $400,000 guarantee for a bid, but the organization did not make Boise put the money up front. The USTA still wants Boise to try and raise the money, Bickham said.
Theyre pushing to have it here. I think they really want it here, Bickham said. Thats why were in play.
Ticket prices, set by the USTA, range from $100 to $500 for a three-day pass, Bickham said. He and Patton are confident local fans and visiting fans will create a great atmosphere for tennis.
The USTA has made a lot of concessions to try and make this work for us, Patton said. I think Im being pretty pragmatic. I said this, My word is on the line, you bring it to Boise and were going to pack it.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph