Bajans ready for Venezuelans

Fresh off a favourable outing at the United States Open, tennis ace Darian King is back home to bolster Barbados’ chance for promotion into Davis Cup Group l. 

The 106 world ranked King, among the Association of Tennis Professionals’ best players, is high on confidence having defied the odds when he overcame a shoulder injury to enter the US Open and win three qualifiers against American Daniel Nguyen, Chilean Nicolas Jarry and Slovakian Lukas Lacko respectively, and earned himself an historic ticket into the main draw of the Grand Slam. He became the first Barbadian to do so, and went on to play the sixth-ranked Alexander Zverev Jr. of Germany in the opening match, losing 6-7, 5-7, 4-6 in a keenly contested battle.

During this morning’s press conference at the Barbados National Tennis Association (BNTA), vice- president of the tennis association, Sandra Osborne, announced that Barbados seeded at number one, would play host to the number two-seeded Venezuelans for the Davis Cup Americas Zone Group ll third round tie slated to serve off next weekend, September 15 to 17 at the BNTA.

(From left) Barbados National Tennis Association vice-president, Sandra Osborne, president Dr. Raymond Forde, Barbados team captain Damien Applewhaite and Darian King. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay)

“We are seeded number one in the group and Venezuela number two. The winner will be promoted into Group l and Barbados just a year or two ago was in Group l, so we look forward to being promoted once again. Once we get into that group we would be competing against Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and either Dominican Republic or Colombia, because one of them will be relegated to group two,” Osborne said.

The actual draw commences at 10.a.m. next week Friday with two singles on the opening day, one doubles match on Saturday at 12 noon and then two reverse singles at 10.a.m. on Sunday to close out the competition.

Barbados last featured on home soil six months ago in Davis Cup Group ll when they overcame Guatemala 3-2 and captain Damien Applewhaite certainly believes his charges have what it takes to come out victorious against Venezuela.

At the moment, Barbados number two-seeded player Haydn Lewis, Adam Hornby and Matthew Foster-Estwick are all currently overseas preparing separately for the all-important tie but will return home no later than Sunday to join King and Applewhaite to continue preparation as a team.

King’s unbeatable record on home soil speaks for itself and many are of the opinion that without him and his top class performances time after time, the Barbados Davis Cup team might not have made it this far.

Well, Applewhaite was quick to dismiss that notion about the Barbados Davis Cup team being a one-man show.

In fact, he stated clearly, “You can’t win Davis Cup with just one man. It is impossible but at the same time we do depend heavily on Darian and Haydn and the other guys just need to step up to the plate. If there are any unforeseen circumstances, they have to be ready to play. We are strong enough depth wise. The formula for our success over the past two years has been Darian, doubles, Darian and we are going to go into this tie with a similar strategy and I believe the guys have what it takes to win.”

Meanwhile, King with an International Tennis Federation singles ranking of 168 is currently resting before hitting the court once again this weekend. He said he was no stranger to the Venezuelans having played doubles with their number one seeded player, Ricardo Rodriguez with a career singles ranking of 795 in the world, a distant 689 compared to King.

“As you can see when I played Zverev [at the US Open], he is six in the world and I am ranked one sixty [one hundred and sixty-eight] and as you can see I still give him a run for his money, so ranking and stuff for me does not matter in this sport.

“Tennis is played on the day. I don’t want to go in there being presumptuous or anything. I am going to go out there and give it my best against who ever I play, even if the guy is ranked one thousand in the world it does not matter. As I told you tennis is played on the day, so I am just going to go out there and fight for every ball and play my best,” King said.   


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