Barbados’ tennis “King” has no plans on stepping down from his throne anytime soon.
The island’s top-ranked tennis player, Darian King has fully recovered from a wrist injury, which plagued him for the past two years, and he is aiming to return to the form that enabled him to achieve a career-best ranking of 106 five years ago, the same year he qualified for the United States Open.
Last weekend, the 30-year-old played a critical role helping Barbados remain in Group 2 of the Davis Cup with a crucial 7-6, 6-3 win over Pacific Oceania’s top-seeded Colin Sinclair in the reverse singles.
King said this was only the beginning of his comeback, and he was focussed on returning to his peak form.
“I’m starting back now,” he told BARBADOS TODAY. “At the beginning of the year, I just played before this a final, which still gives me hope that I still have it in me to continue and rewrite history as where I was before when I was ranked 100 in the world.
“It is a good sign, so I’m just going to continue working hard and I’m going to try and play a full schedule this year and see where it takes me. I feel that I still have the game and it’s just to surround myself with the right people, a positive team and be ready for this upcoming year.”
King added: “I would say that I’m thinking positively. I just got over my wrist injury I can say now, but in recent times, I was battling a little hamstring problem. But for me, I still showed that even with a hamstring or another injury, I can still come out here and play against these guys that have been playing for the past two years and beat quality guys with an injury.
“I think that I have the smarts for tennis to at least showcase my talent. I’m very happy, and I don’t really want to talk about the injuries too much because it’s been a real downfall for me, but I’m happy to come out here for Barbados and for them to see us progress in this Davis Cup tie.”
Though King said he was hoping to improve his game over the coming year, he was impressed with the talent of junior tennis players in the island.
After King and Matthew Foster-Estwick lost their doubles match, 20-year-old Kaipo Marshall stepped up to the plate to win the decisive fifth match and avoid demotion.
This was a remarkable achievement considering both Haydn Lewis and Xavier Lawrence were unable to play against Pacific Oceania.
“The rising stars, Matthew, Xavier, and Kaipo, we all work hard together,” King said. “Even the preparation before this game, we all came together and lived as a family and started to push each other, and that’s what hard work does in these kinds of moments when your back is against the wall.
“I’m very happy that the tennis gods gave us this victory and allowed us to stay in Group 2. This is not just for us, but this will ensure that Barbados’ tennis stays on the map.”