King up to the challenge
There is no greater feeling than representing Barbados at the Olympics, says ace tennis player Darian King.
King told Barbados TODAY it was a wonderful feeling to win his first ATP Challenger in Cali Columbia over the weekend, but to wear the ultra-marine, gold and black next month in Rio would be even more special.
The 24-year-old, coached by his elder brother Christopher King, has now jumped from 255 to a world ranking of 197 after coming from a set down to defeat Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday. He said after trying on a number of occasions to win his first Challenger he was extremely elated that it came against number 75 ranked Estrella Burgos who he looks up to and has played on numerous occasion in the Davis Cup.
That right-handed player explained last weekend’s win had now boosted his confidence heading into the Olympics Games where he intended to give it his best shot against some of the world’s best.
“After playing Challenger a couple a times and finally to get my first win through beating one of the world’s top players is a great feeling for me. I think I played well throughout the whole tournament playing point by point and having played Victor a couple of times before ATP, I learnt from my mistakes. For instance back then I did not grasp the important points, but this time I trusted myself, kept focus, battled hard and came out on top.
“It is a great feeling winning my first Challenger but I think representing my country is even more important and special because the Olympics is not an every day or every year thing. So me being one selected to participate in Rio is a very great achievement,” King said.
It has been a tremendous year for the Barbadian professional who has become the path-breaker for local tennis by becoming the only player to compete at the Olympics after being given a wild card. In addition to that, he has had a few firsts in his career for 2016. Chief among these was when he became the first Bajan to play on a Wimbledon court and went on to capture his first Grand Slam win in the qualifying round.
He has attributed his success to hard work and dedication and this comes after being unsure whether he would play any tennis due to tendinitis in his left wrist. However the homeboy has defied the odds to put Barbados on the map.
Looking ahead to Rio King said training had been going very well but what was of the utmost importance was that he remained injury-free.
“I have been preparing very hard, doing lots of gym work, spending lots of time on court and I am just going to put my all into it,” explained King who will return home this week on break before leaving for Binghamton, New York where he will compete in another APT Challenger.