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Success after 15 years

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Success after 15  years

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It took 15 long years, but Barbados are back in Group II of the Americas Davis Cup Competition.
This year, the team of Darian King, Haydn Lewis, Anthony Marshall and Seanon Williams lost only one tie against Guatemala to earn promotion from Group III.
Next year, they will join Peru, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Venezuela and Bolivia who were also promoted.
In next month’s play-offs, the Netherlands Antilles, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Haiti will battle for the remaining two spots, with the two losing sides going back to Group III.
In a recent interview, Kevin Yarde, the non-playing captain, told MIDWEEKSPORT the team was very pleased with the way they played this year.
“The guys enjoyed it. We were happy to win, happy with the promotion.
“In 2008, we were close to promotion. We were a match point from promotion and we lost the last tie to Guatemala,” he recalled.
Barbados played in Group III the following year, but reached the low point when they were demoted to Group IV.
In 2010 they played unbeaten to go back to Group III and were promoted again this year.
One constant face in the team has been Lewis, and his experience has proven to be invaluable.
“Haydn has played undefeated the last two years. He has been carrying the team, especially this year where he was playing at No. 2 and winning to take the pressure off Darian.
“We played all of our matches from in front. We were [always] 1-0 up, so it was good to have two strong singles players. It gave us the luxury to rest.
“We were 2-0 in all of the matches except the last one against Guatemala where Darian lost the singles and then we lost the doubles,” Yarde said.
“Haydn served well and defended his serve. Players found it difficult to handle his heavy top spin on the forehand and that is why some matches looked easy from the score.”
At 25, Lewis was also a mentor to 19-year-old King who played the No. 1 position.
Yarde said King had matured both as a player and a person and Lewis helped him with advice both on and off the court. He expects to see continued improvement from King.
Williams and Marshall, who spends most of his time in Venezuela, were both part of last year’s team which gained promotion from Group IV, and also played their part.
Yarde added that the level of play was quite high, but King and Lewis were the decided advantage, having come from playing on the Future’s tour.