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Bajans up the rankings

Renaldo Gilkes

Bajans up the rankings

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Barbados tennis team’s recent Davis Cup victory over the superior ranked Paraguay has moved them up the rankings by 20 places, leaping from position 80 to 60 with their 3-2 win in Barbados a couple weeks ago.
Their victory has earned them a semi-final place in Group 2 of the Americas in April in Mexico City, where this clash is expected to be their toughest one yet.
The April 6-8 encounter will be played in difficult and unfamiliar atmospheric conditions, more than 7 000 feet above sea level and on the tricky clay surface.
Preparation is very important and absolutely necessary for Barbados to advance from this challenging encounter.
Our key players Darian King and Haydn Lewis, who won three of the five games between them will need the required practice sessions and tournaments to be on par or even better than the highly-ranked Mexicans who are rated 46th in the world.
King, the highest-ranked player on the team at 700th, is expected to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders. He impressed against Paraguay in the last round, dismissing Juan Enrique Crosa in three straight sets (6-3, 6-3, 6-4). He then teamed up with the other Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranked player Haydn Lewis to capture the doubles match by another 3-0 margin.
King rose to prominence in 2010 with his outstanding performances on the junior circuit, where he played at the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open as well as capturing the consolation draw in the inaugural Youth Olympics against Macedonian Stefan Micov.
Results in these tournaments earned King the right to be in an elite pool of players and earn a 47th place ranking in world junior tennis.
King’s current ranking has been gained in a mere seven months, jumping from 1635th to 700th on the ATP circuit, an achievement which can be attributed to hard work by not only King but his coach ­– Martin Blackman, Roger Smith, Sydney Lopez and brother Christopher King.
King’s ranking does not do him justice, however, as many professional players and coaches have noticed but like many other sportsmen in Barbados King lacks that financial push to match his counterparts.
With the ranking system based on the number of points accumulated from tournaments hosted by the ATP throughout the year, King’s participation in as many of these tournaments is not only beneficial to him personally but to the general development of tennis in the island.
During the month of March, he is expected to be quite busy. Apart from his regular training stints with Blackman in Florida, he is slated for three ATP Futures tournaments in Canada where he hopes not only to prepare for the semifinal tie but to improve his world ranking.
An intelligent move by King and his management team will see him playing in Mexico just before the Davis Cup in the San Louisi Challenger, another ATP tournament where King is expected to face tougher opposition.
A further three Future tournaments are on King’s agenda, scheduled for Caracas in May. With such a calendar, there is clear evidence of this young man’s focus, determination and hard work to improve and rise to the top of the tennis charts.
To fulfil not only his dream but that of his late mother Myrna King, King intends to leave his mark on the tennis world and be one day crowned the “King” of the courts.
This can only be reached one step at a time. He must, therefore, compete regularly and gain the necessary points needed to ascend into the pro ranks.