It wasn’t the kind of performance Barbados desired on returning to Davis Cup Americas Group I.
But if they are any positives for the national side to focus on going forward, it is 19-year-old Xavier Lawrence.
Playing the fourth rubber of the reverse singles on Saturday against Cristian Rodriguez of Colombia with an Association of Professional Tennis ranking of 388, Lawrence was very impressive.
The sophomore was equal to the task, showing great stamina during rallies, was able to swing well cross-court, stroke those aggressive forehand shots down the line and produced accurate top-spin serves.
Putting aside the 6-3, 6-0 result against Rodriguez, those eye-catching plays from the aspiring young man should give non-playing captain, Damien Applewhaite, a greater depth of talent to tap into going forward. Especially as Barbados prepare to host the Dominican Republic in two months time from April 6-7 at the National Tennis Center.
Lawrence is a student at Prairie View A&M and Panther Athletics located in Texas where Duane Williams, one of the youngest Davis Cup players for Barbados at age 15, is the head coach. The teenager was spot on with his attacking plays, so much so that senior Davis Cup teammates Darian King and Haydn Lewis joined the home crowd in shouting for more.
Lawrence told Barbados TODAY he went on court with the mindset of having nothing to lose after his team had already conceded a 3-0 deficit to the Colombians.
“At first when I heard I had to play, I was a bit nervous especially during the first game of the first set. But then I started to play freely and I was happy with myself. I had two opportunities to break the serve in the first set and I wasn’t happy that I didn’t capitalize on those breakpoints.
“But it is my first time and I can’t be too hard on myself. I have a lot of Davis Cup matches for Barbados ahead of me and I am looking forward to it because I know I could play with these guys. Just small things I need to work on.”
Last Saturday’s performance is similar to what Lawrence exhibited late last December in the Top Eight Invitational tournament. The former Queen’s College student advanced all the way to the final and won 6-4, 6-4 against Seanon Williams, who once represented Barbados in Davis Cup and is a more seasoned player.