King fit and ready for Cup
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.