Darian King is feeling no added pressure playing three of five matches when the Radisson Barbados Davis Cup team takes on Ecuador this weekend in the Americas Zone Group l relegation tie at the National Tennis Center.
During this morning’s press briefing at the Barbados Olympic Association, Davis Cup referee Tony Cho announced the playing schedule that features Barbados’ number one seed King in two singles and then the doubles match with veteran teammate Haydn Lewis who was replaced by Matthew Foster- Estwick as the number two seed in singles.
The winner of this tie will stay up in Group l while the loser gets demoted to Group Two. Barbados’ non-playing captain Damien Applewhaite does not see it as putting all of his eggs in one basket with King playing in three matches. Realistically, the other two options on the national team are Xavier Lawrence and Kaipo Marshall who are still new to this level of tennis.
Applewhaite further explained that this was something that has been done in the past and said: “The fact is other countries will have a deeper team and even have a doubles specialist on their team. Our team, Haydn is our strongest doubles player, we do not have the depth that other teams have, and we are working towards that with our Barbados Tennis Association to get some players. At the moment those who have the larger responsibility will carry the flag.”
Tomorrow, the opening day commences at 10.a.m with two singles. 21-year-old Foster-Estwick and Ecuador’s number one seed Roberto Quiroz with a world ranking of 213 in singles get the contest started. Then local ace player King ranked 186 will contest the other singles match against Ecuador’s second man Emilio Gomez.
Day two Saturday, September 16 begins at 9:30.a.m and starts with the lone doubles match between King and Lewis against Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hildago. During his briefing of Davis Cup rules, referee Cho stated that both teams could make changes to their doubles sides one hour before match time.
Following the doubles will be the reverse singles with both countries number one players King and Quiroz going one on one while the number two seeds Foster- Estwick and Gomez will do battle if it comes down to that.
It has been an up and down year for King, but the 26-year-old ace player said he has put all disappointments so far for 2018 behind him and was looking forward to this vital tie against Ecuador.
“I am very ready. I prepared well for it, and I had some ups and downs this year, some tough ones. However, playing for my country is a big deal; I always look forward to playing and representing my country. Being with this team makes it easier for me to go out there, play my game and be who I am on the court,” said King who opted not to comment much on the question of being overworked.
He said: “I always leave it up to the coach. I go out there and practise, leave it up to the coach, that’s why he is the coach, the engine of the team. So he comes back and prepares us for the upcoming encounter we have with Ecuador. Even if maybe on the day I get injured or something, maybe Kaipo, Xavier, Haydn would step up to the plate. I am always going to be there to support any decision, but really and truly I do not want to answer that question, so I am going to stray away from it.”
Foster- Estwick spoke about the opportunity of being called upon for the second time as Barbados’ number two and said he was ready.
“The last time was pretty nerve-racking, being my first match in Barbados. However, this time I feel a lot more prepared, a lot more confident, I feel like I have way more experience regarding playing professional tennis,” Foster-Estwick said.
Meanwhile, Ecuador captain Raul Viver said his team play in similar weather conditions at home and having faced Barbados twice in the past they knew what to expect.
“We both have the same goal. The American Zone Group One tie is crucial for both teams and Barbados is a team we played twice before,” Viver said, adding that he did not expect the weather conditions to affect his team too much. “In Ecuador, we have the same weather as here, but the rain is a concern because it will disrupt the schedule. However, we have been practising in Ecuador on the similar court, same surface, same speed, and same weather. So basically it is fine here,” Viver said.