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Tennis Manitoba looks to host Davis Cup tie by getting fans behind plan

Canadian team members celebrate after Milos Raonic (in white shirt) won his match over South Africa's Izak van der Merwe in Davis Cup action at Stade Uniprix tennis stadium at Jarry Park in Montreal, Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Canadian Press

Tennis Manitoba is trying to get people to put their cash on the line as it bids to host Canada's Davis Cup tennis tie against Spain in February.

The organization has teamed with True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the MTS Centre, to ask for refundable $25 deposits on tickets to prove there is widespread interest.

Tennis Manitoba president Bruce Waschuk said of the three cities left in the running, Winnipeg is the best choice because it can offer the MTS Centre on the Feb. 1-3 dates.

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"MTS Centre provides Winnipeg with an early advantage, as it's the only city on the short list that can host the event in a full-sized arena," said Waschuk.

He added that social media is also being used to drum up interest in the Advantage Winnipeg campaign. The other cities on the shortlist are Vancouver and Calgary.

The World Group tie could see Canada's world No. 15-ranked Milos Raonic face off against Rafael Nadal. The fourth-ranked Spaniard hasn't played in months due to a left knee injury.

Canada team captain Martin Laurendeau has said the choice of surface and venue are among the few advantages his side against the top-ranked Spaniards.

A Tennis Canada spokesperson said Thursday that the host city will likely be named by mid-November.

Canada is ranked No. 12 in the 16-team World Group and kept its spot in the competition's elite group with a victory over South Africa last month.

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