King fit and ready for Cup

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Sport 2 - By MIKE KING

DAR­IAN KING says he has over­come the shoul­der in­jury that dogged him be­fore the US Open, and will be fit and sharp for this week­end’s top-of-the-ta­ble Amer­i­cas Davis Cup Group 2 show­down with Venezuela at the Na­tional Ten­nis Cen­tre in Wildey. King, far and away the best ten­nis player in the coun­try, has ac­knowl­edged that some­how he serves bet­ter in the Davis Cup than he does on tour. “A lot of peo­ple didn’t know that prior to the US Open, I had prob­lems with my shoul­der. I wasn’t even sure at one stage if I would have played in the US Open – my shoul­der was that bad. Thanks must go to Jac­qui King and Dr Thorne for as­sist­ing me. “For Davis Cup, I serve very well, but on tour I don’t know what hap­pens, I am not sure why. It is some­thing that I re­ally work on a lot in my off time, es­pe­cially af­ter prac­tice that I would hit a bas­ket of serves, hit­ting tar­gets. I guess more rep­e­ti­tion of that would im­prove my serve,” he said. The open­ing sin­gles are on Fri­day morn­ing serv­ing off at 10 a.m., with the dou­bles slated for Satur­day be­gin­ning at noon. The re­serves sin­gles are set for Sun­day. King, 25, is ranked 156 in the world. He will play at num­ber one in a team com­pris­ing Haydn Lewis, Adam Hornby, Matthew Fos­ter-est­wick and non-play­ing cap­tain Damien Ap­ple­whaite. Ap­ple­whaite told the MID­WEEK NA­TION, he is qui­etly con­fi­dent of the team’s chances. “We are look­ing for­ward to the clash. The team has been pre­par­ing nicely in their var­i­ous camps. We all know what Dar­ian has been do­ing over the past weeks while Haydn has been work­ing with an ATP level player and has just re­turned from Florida, where he was train­ing with his coach,” he said.

Hornby had been do­ing his prepa­ra­tion at the Idaho State Univer­sity while Est­wick was based at the Univer­sity of Hamp­ton in Vir­ginia.

Ap­ple­whaite gave the as­sur­ance that Lewis had over­come the back prob­lems he had in the past.

“The last tie against Gu­atemala, that was the strong­est I have seen Haydn in years so he knows what he has to do to strengthen his back and he has been do­ing that all sum­mer,” he said.

Vice-pres­i­dent of the Bar­ba­dos Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion (BTA), San­dra Or­borne, made it clear that the tur­bu­lent weather sys­tems that have pum­melled the Caribbean and North Amer­ica over the past few weeks would not stop play.

Os­borne, a mem­ber of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, said that lights would be used if nec­es­sary and noted, that Mon­day is a re­serve day.

“We are just hop­ing that the rains will stay away. We have had Davis Cup ties be­fore in Septem­ber and we have been able to get through them.

“The ten­nis will play – we don’t have a choice be­cause we are not dic­tat­ing this timetable, it is the in­ter­na­tional ten­nis fed­er­a­tion. Across the en­tire world, Davis Cup is be­ing played Septem­ber 15-17, so there is no put­ting it back. We can use lights and we do have a re­serve day if nec­es­sary.

“Ev­ery­thing is on stream. The ref­eree is here, the Venezue­lan team is here, ev­ery­one who needs to be in Bar­ba­dos is in the is­land,” she added.

In Group 2 of the Amer­i­cas Zone, Bar­ba­dos are grouped with Mex­ico, Gu­atemala, Bo­livia, El Sal­vador, Paraguay, Ba­hamas and Venezuela. This week’s thir­dround clash is es­sen­tially a fi­nal be­tween top-ranked Bar­ba­dos and the sec­ond-seeded Venezuela, with the win­ner gain­ing pro­mo­tion to Group 1.

The 18 ball kids are from Bar­ba­dos while the two chair um­pires are from Ja­maica and Trinidad and Tobago.

DAR­IAN KING: “For Davis Cup, I serve very well, but on tour I don’t know what hap­pens.” (Pic­ture by Jameel Springer.)

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