Marshall out, Moseley in Davis Cup
THE BRAIN TRUST of Barbados Davis Cup tennis has confidence in Haydn Lewis.
Not so much in another overseas-based pro.
Anthony Marshall won’t be playing a part in this country’s most crucial tie as the Davis Cup selectors opted to go without the English-based professional after local No. 2 Lewis made himself available for next month’s relegation rubber against Puerto Rico.
Davis Cup captain Kevin Yarde announced the decision to drop Marshall in favour of both Russell Moseley and Seanon Williams during a Press conference yesterday at the National Tennis Centre.
“The other guys’ form is a little better than Anthony’s right now from what I saw in El Salvador,” said the veteran captain of the reason behind Marshall’s omission.
“He is also mainly a clay court player and not exactly a hard court player, so we decided to go with the other guys that are more at home on the hard and faster courts.”
The decision hardly comes as a surprise, considering Marshall’s recent indifferent form that has seen the English-based 27-year-old fail to win a Davis Cup match of any kind since 2010.
Marshall hasn’t even won a set in that run of six successive losses, which includes a humbling 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 singles defeat to El Salvador’s Marcelo Arevalo during last month’s tie in Central America.
And someone was going to have to make way for Lewis’ return, even though it was widely speculated that Marshall would’ve been retained due to his experience of 13 ties.
It was a tough decision to make ahead of the all-important April 5 tie in Barbados, where the hosts will face Puerto Rico for the right to remain in Group II of the Americas Zone next year.
Other than having home court advantage, Barbados are expected to get a further boost from Lewis’ much awaited return after the Bajan No. 2 missed last month’s tie following a lengthy layoff from the game.
But question marks have surrounded Lewis’ match-readiness as the overseas-based pro hasn’t played competitively since taking a break from the game for personal reasons back in August.
Yarde, showed no such concerns over the 27-year-old’s ability to perform next month, having overseen Lewis’ training session before the left-handed baseliner left for Florida earlier this month.
“Haydn has been playing professionally for a number of years now and he only took a couple months off due to a little physical and mental burnout, so I don’t have any question marks over Haydn’s ability or talents,” Yarde explained.
“Haydn is our strongest player after Darian [King]. He has the weapons, on the fast surface especially, to do well, so I’m not really worried about him. He might be lacking a bit of match play but that’s what he’s working on currently.
“[And] he’s been putting in some practice sets and started to play some practice matches, so he’ll be alright. The last I saw of him he was hitting the ball very nicely and getting back on track to play some more professional tennis after Davis Cup,” added Yarde.
A veteran of 35 ties, Lewis owns a 37-16 record in all Davis Cup matches and holds almost all of Barbados’ Davis Cup records, including most singles (24) and total (37) wins.
However, the hosts will be up against a Puerto Rico team that they haven’t beaten in two previous tries – most recently in 2008.
But Yarde believes the third time will be the charm after expressing confidence in the strength of this team, which is led by world No. 491 Darian King.
“I think we have a better chance this year of beating Puerto Rico [because] we have a much stronger team and the team has a lot more depth this time than on the previous two occasions,” said Yarde.
“[Puerto Rico] don’t seem to have the depth that they had a couple years ago, [so] I’m pretty confident that we should do well in this tie.”