Haydn Lewis (left), Darian King and the rest of Barbados’ Davis Cup squad will be playing their second-round play-off tie in the Dominican Republic now (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
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Barbados’ Davis Cup squad may have to face another do-or-die relegation tie this year after giving up the right to host next month’s showdown with rivals Dominican Republic due to severe financial constraints.
The Barbados Tennis Association (BTA) broke the news Friday in a release sent out to the press after being saddled with another bill northward of $100 000 for staging last month’s tie against Colombia.
“It had been anticipated that with the new trial format of best of three rather than five sets, and play over two days rather than three, that there would have been some cost savings in the tie against Colombia, but this was minimal as the major expense of airfares and accommodation for the overseas line officials, ITF appointed umpires and referee showed little change from past ties,” wrote the BTA in the release.
“It was determined that should Dominican Republic agree to host the April event, this would provide some breathing space for the association to hone its marketing skills in the event of having to stage a second-round play-off home tie against Ecuador in September. Financial resources and manpower would then be available to successfully host this event and give the team the home advantage.
“With Dominican Republic hosting the next round, the costs for Barbados as the away team will be substantially reduced. The decision will also allow the association to concentrate on its many other areas of responsibility, particularly junior player development, since the annual Barbados ITF Under-18 and COTECC Under-14 international tournaments are also carded for April as well as Fed Cup and the Under-12 Caribbean Development Championships in the summer,” the release added.
The decision puts world No.191 Darian King, fellow veteran Haydn Lewis and the rest of the squad at somewhat of a disadvantage considering they’ve never won a tie on the road in Group I play.
There hasn’t been much between the two sides over the last couple of seasons though, as Barbados lost a pair of heart-breaking 3-2 results to the Dominican Republic that were both decided in the final rubber.
The Bajans were even favoured to win in 2015, having taken a 2-1 lead into the final day before King and Lewis stunningly dropped the two reverse singles here in Barbados at the National Tennis Centre.
At least they’ll have the comfort of knowing the possible demotion tie against Ecuador will be played at home, where Barbados has lost just twice with a full-strength squad.
And the reality of hosting three straight ties probably influenced the BTA’s decision to take next month’s encounter to the Dominican Republic.
“Having found itself in the precarious position of possibly having to host the home ties in 2018, the organising committee began its preparations, specifically in the area of securing sponsorship, in the latter half of 2017,” the BTA explained in the release.
“It was successful in bringing on board two new team sponsors Barbados Tourism Management Inc. (BTMI) and Radisson Aquatica for the Barbados versus Colombia tie but unfortunately this was not enough to compensate for the recurring high costs of playing at home.
“Since 2012, when the team first gained promotion to Group II of the Davis Cup Americas Zone, the Association has hosted 11 ties at the National Tennis Centre with expenses running at approximately $130 000 per tie,” the release added. (JM)