Barbados prepared for Mexican ‘invasion’
Barbados’ men are ready for what can be considered their toughest assignment to date when they host Mexico in the finals of the Davis Cup Tennis Championship from September 12 to 14 at the National Tennis Center, Wildey, St Michael.
Speaking today at a media briefing at the National Tennis Center, non-playing team captain Kevin Yarde said there was going to be lots of pressure to win at home. But he added the local players that included Barbados’ number one Darian King, ranked 458th in the world, Haydn Lewis, Seanon Williams and Russell Moseley were all looking forward to the challenge.
“The guys are ready to go and we are really looking forward to this challenge. It is going to be a big challenge . . . . The guys are overseas training and getting match ready. Darian King is playing second-round tomorrow in Rotterdam, Holland, Haydn Lewis is going down to Vandermeer Academy over the weekend to train with those world class players, Seanon Williams is in Mexico and Russell just got back from Atlanta and Toronto where he has been doing some training,” Yarde said.
In terms of feeling pressured to win at home, the experienced Yarde said they had a game plan for the Mexicans who were currently ranked number 44.
“There is always pressure to win at home and we always want to win at home for sure but it is going to be pressure from both sides of the nets. It is going to boil down to which team handles the conditions the better. The Mexicans are traditionally baseliners and one of the things we are going to look at is attacking the nets more and keeping them out of their comfort zone. We will try not to get into too much long rallies and just try to take the matches to them,” Yarde said.
The winner between the two nations will advance to group one in 2015 and Yarde urged the Barbadian public to support the local players with their presence during the matches. He explained that this would give the Barbados team a bit more energy and motivation to give one hundred and ten per cent.
Vice-president of the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), Sandra Osborne, said it was significant to mention that the Barbados players with limited resources were competing in a group with larger countries such as Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
She said it was quite commendable that Barbados had been doing so well over the years and where the Davis Cup was concerned they were well advanced with their preparations.
“Our planning is well advanced and we have a sense of what we have to do. We will continue to keep in touch with them [Davis Cup players] to make sure that everything is in place and things run smoothly. The only issue around September is the possibility of rain and we are hoping that will not happen. There is provision for the tie to continue on Monday, September 15,” Osborne noted.
The vice-president noted that if a situation arose where all three days of the competition were affected due to the rain, along with the reserved day, they would then have to work around getting some play, which would include extended hours.
“Monday is the day that is normally reserved and we would hope that we would be able to get some play during the three days before. But I am not sure if the rules allow it to go into the Tuesday .
“The issue for us is that we have opted not to play under lights and the reason for that is that our lights are not up to standard. So the rules require us to have eight hours of sunlight for the singles and six hours of sunlight for the doubles and that is why we start at ten o’clock in the morning and that would take us to six o’clock in the evening for the singles and then the doubles we start at twelve o’clock and that gives us six hours until six o’clock,” she explained.
Additional seating will be provided for patrons because BLTA is expecting a good turn-out and Osborne took time to thank the main sponsors Powerade for their support over the years.
The draw for the matches will take place on September 11 while the actual final starts on Friday, September 12 at 10 a.m. with two singles matches. One doubles match will be played on Saturday, September 13 at noon and two reverse singles on the 14th at 10 a.m.