ON THE BALL: New Davis Cup heroes
MAKE SPACE, MARTIN BLACKMAN, Richard Ashby. Barbados have new Davis Cup heroes.
There’s just no denying this team’s place in local tennis history. No matter what happens from here on, Darian King, Haydn Lewis, Seanon Williams and Russell Moseley have gone where no other Barbadian has gone before.
Considering the pains their predecessors went through, a spot in the Group II final really can’t be overstated for a small nation playing against Spanish-speaking giants.
And the run may be far from over.
Call it the luck of the draw, if you want, but now all that stands between Barbados and Group I promotion is but another home tie after all three rubbers this season would have been drawn at the friendly confines of the National Tennis Centre.
Not that they don’t deserve it, having spent years on the road enduring one dusty clay surface after another, painfully thin air and even less welcoming crowds.
It’s not as if home court advantage is all they have going for them either, as the opponents on the other side of the net are still world-rated – regardless of surface or condition.
If there was ever a thought that Martin Blackman was just gushing in reference to King as a future top 100 player, then the local No.1 has dismissed any such notion – like every opponent he’s faced – with his play against El Salvador alone.
Rafael Arevalo never looked like he stood a chance, and younger brother Marcelo was probably lucky his back knocked him out of the contest before King did.
Yet the world beater may very well be Barbados’ best kept secret, even though there aren’t five local sportsmen better than tennis’ King, as the once-in-a-lifetime talent doesn’t get the same love shown to his contemporaries.
Lewis’ elite skills aren’t anything to sneeze at either, with his huge forehands, even bigger serves and those great hands around the net proving more than enough for the brothers to handle.
Williams even showcased what the future holds for Barbados tennis, taking a literal swing at El Salvador to wrap up the latest home win.
Now more Spanish-speaking giants await and Mexico will be coming in September with the confidence of a 2012 5-0 sweep against the Bajans.
But there will be no dust this time.
No thin air. No unruly crowds.
Nope, all Barbados will have is the luck of the draw and their new heroes.