Barbados premier tennis players are ready and raring to go.
And in addition to competing against an unfamiliar Venezuelan squad, the only other thing that could possibly interfere with the quest of the Bajans is the heavy rain currently affecting the island. They take on the visitors over three days from September 15 in the Davis Cup Americas Zone ll third round tie with the eventual winner being promoted to Group l.
Non-playing captain Damien Applewhaite said during this morning’s press conference held at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), that he was not too worried about the wet conditions. In fact he believes Barbados’ number one seeded player Darian King, Haydn Lewis, Adam Hornby and Matthew Estwick-Foster are all capable of adapting well to any situation.
“I don’t think it [rainy weather] will bother these professionals too much, they play in all sort of different conditions and don’t forget, and Venezuela will also be in the same conditions as well,” Applewhaite explained.
Normally for Davis Cup when it rains, there are reserved days and should the rain interrupt the tie on Friday, Colombian referee Miguel Ternera will have the final say.
According to Applewhaite, Team Barbados have had only one complete practice session because of the rain but gave the assurance that despite their limited practice session, the men representing the ultra-marine, gold and black were fit and ready for competition, especially number two seed Lewis who has had some back problems.
The 31-year-old also took time to clear the air. “My back has not been troubling me for the past year, I haven’t had any issues with it, so that is a positive sign and match-by-match I just become more confident.”
The man many will focus their attention on is Barbados’ number one, King, ranked 168 on the International Tennis Federation professional circuit. He is well prepared to once again continue his impressive form on home soil. During today’s interview, King said he felt no added pressure.
In fact King knows what it feels like to feature in Group l when Barbados for the very first time gained promotion in 2014 with a huge upset over Mexico, led by then captain Kevin Yarde.
“I am just willing to go out there and give it my best against who ever I play. I am definitely going to go out there and compete to the best of my ability. I prepared pretty well for it [the tie] thanks to Shannon Lashley. Matthew joined me on a couple sessions, so I know that he is feeling it right now, if he gets an opportunity to go out there and participate for Barbados. So we are on a mission trying to get back where we were before and looking to go out there and give it our best over the weekend,” King said.
That hungry desire to come out triumphant on home soil in this all-important tie was expressed among the young members of the Barbados Davis Cup team. Adam Hornby and Matthew Foster-Estwick, both based in the United States, are excited to represent their country.
Barbados conquered Paraguay in round one and Guatemala in round two earlier this year in Group ll action to reach this point. Similarly, Venezuela trounced Bahamas in the opening round and took care of El Salvador in the second.
The Venezuelan camp has just one concern coming into this tie, or one should say one man to be concerned about and his name is Darian King.
“For us it is going to be difficult because it is going to be here and with a strong player like Darian, it is going to be a tough challenge but it is a team tournament and anything is possible in Davis Cup.
“Humbly, we are going to give the best competition we can, and yes I know Darian, he played in the tournament at Margarita Island where I am from and he is a very good player, very professional. We are going to give our best, every match is important, it is a final and we are going to give a hundred percent,” said non-playing captain, Yohny Romero who exhibited the same confidence as Applewhaite did, saying his players could adapt well to any conditions.
“We prepare ourselves to adapt to any conditions. Venezuela is not so different from the weather here, we have way warmer weather, rainy too, so for us not so difficult,” he said.
The draw to determine Friday’s match-ups will take place tomorrow morning at the BOA.