Serve it up!
Darian King’s road to 300 might be derailed by an even bigger number.
Local tennis coach Sydney Lopez estimates it’s going to cost in the region of US$99 000 (BDS$198 000) to fund all of his ward’s expenses for 2013 if the top-ranked pro is to continue his assault on the world rankings.
Lopez gave a breakdown of the expenditures after revealing it took US$35 000 (BDS$70 000) last year for King to make the leap from 718 to 482 in the world.
“Darian King has the potential to be a world beater and we’ve been told he can make the top 100 if we give him the support that he deserves,” Lopez said.
“We’re going to show people the plan we have for Darian . . . . His ranking will move from where it is to 300 by June and then by the end of the year he will be in the 200s, but it’s going to take a huge financial commitment.
“We have the opportunity to have a Wimbledon player, a US Open player, a French Open player, who then gives us the exposure in the world scene. He has the potential to bring world-class players and ATP events to Barbados,” he added.
Undeniably the country’s best tennis prospect since former pro Martin Blackman, the 20-year-old King has made good on the world-class talent he displayed when he first took up a racquet, making a prodigious leap up the world rankings since turning pro two years ago.
And last season was his finest yet, with the gifted right-hander jumping 236 spots after winning two singles and eight doubles titles to go along with four other finals appearances on tour.
But this was only after King transferred to Florida full-time to take advantage of cost-reduced tutelage at Blackman’s academy following a great training stint with women’s world No. 38 Sloane Stephens.
“I got in the realm of US$35 000 (BDS$70 000) to cover Darian’s expenses because of great assistance from Martin Blackman, who saw this as supporting Barbados tennis but we also recognize that we can’t expect someone with an academy to give you something all the time so we’ve got to look at helping the academy he’s in by paying more money,” Lopez said.
“We had him in California before with Roger Smith, who felt he had the potential to be really good, but he kept reminding us that there needed to be a major financial commitment. He was doing it then because we have a good relationship with him but he couldn’t do it forever.
“Martin has still agreed to help out Darian and we do get support from the Barbados Tennis Association, but we’re now moving him to the next level where he’ll play challengers and we will try to get him into some qualifiers of tour events and all of this means there’s a major a financial attachment,” Lopez added.
King is set to return to Florida later this month to prepare for February’s Davis Cup trip to El Salvador before he returns to the world tour in April.