Against Mexico in last year’s Davis Cup tie, Darian King stuck his neck out and predicted a Barbados victory. Now the island’s top ranked player is forecasting a similar outcome against the Dominican Republic this weekend.
Fresh from capturing both the singles and doubles titles at last month’s Panama F1 Futures competition, a confident King says he’s hoping the home side can wrap up victory within the first two days.
Speaking to the media during a press conference at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) this morning, the 22-year-old said despite this being their first appearance in Group 1 play, he was expecting both himself and Haydn Lewis to do well against their higher ranked opponents.
When asked if he was willing to make another bold prediction, King said: “Yes. I’m looking to have a good start obviously and come out on Friday hopefully being up 2-0 and ending it on Saturday.
“I think whoever adapts and comes out better will come out victorious. Execution will be key,” King, who is currently ranked 291, insisted. He said the fact that he was coming into the historic tie on a high after a dominant showing in Panama, had given him some extra confidence.
“I’m definitely feeling confident coming off of three titles. Definitely I’m mentally and physically prepared so it’s left to the execution on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see the outcome of it.
“It’s like a regular tie to me, except that we just got promoted to Group 1. We’re playing against an experienced team and normally we would bring nerves, but I think we are glad and it’s a pleasure for us to be promoted and be able to play against the Dominican Republic,” he assured.
However, King admitted that while the court was now much windier with the fence having been cut to accommodate more spectators, it was an issue both sides had to deal with.
“It is much windier, but you never know, it could be a great advantage to us. We’ve practiced and stuff on it and we are feeling ok . . . so hopefully we can execute on game day,” he added.
Lewis was also in high spirits, following his return from a two month training stint in Florida.
“I feel great. I had a good two months to prepare and I’m just really looking forward to this tie. It’s great to be at this level and it’s very exciting for me, especially to play somebody like Victor [Estrella] at his caliber of tennis and I think it’s great for Barbados,” the southpaw noted.
“Of course there’s always going to be a bit of pressure because you want to win no matter what, but like I said, I’m just very exited to be playing at this level.”
He too spoke about the challenging conditions, which they would have to overcome if they were to come out victorious in the tie.
“It is a bit more windy now that the fence has been moved back, but we’ve played in windier conditions some days too. But you never know, on Friday it could ease up or it could be worse, so it’s something we’ll just have to deal with.”
Non-playing captain Kevin Yarde also used the opportunity to urge Barbadians to come out and support the team. He said it wasn’t usual persons got to see players such as Estrella – who is rated 56th in the world – in action.
“We are hoping that the whole of Barbados comes out and puts a little bit more pressure on the Dominican Republic, and keep some noise. I would really like the seats to be full, that would be great. Plus we don’t really get to see players of this caliber in Barbados too often, so I would hope that a lot of people come out and watch. They will see some exciting tennis for sure, that’s a guarantee,” Yarde emphasized.