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King a Davis Cup MVP

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

King a Davis Cup MVP

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Darian King isn’t flying under the radar anymore.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) continues to take notice of the king of swing, having named the Bajan ace as one of its five MVPs for last season’s Davis Cup campaign.

King was recognised with the token honour last week when the ITF capped its unofficial Davis Cup Awards by compiling five players who proved invaluable to their countries in 2017 on the competition’s website.

According to writer Max Woodard, the Bajan No.1 ranked fourth on the list behind world top ten player David Goffin of Belgium, Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics and Sri Lankan Harshana Godamanna.

It came in recognition of yet another of his great Davis Cup campaigns that saw Barbados gain promotion to Group I for just the second time in its 27-year history.

In all, King accounted for eight victories last season, playing unbeaten in all six of his singles matches while losing a solitary doubles match against Venezuela alongside partner Haydn Lewis.

The 25-year-old rebounded from that defeat by coming from a set down to beat Ricardo Rodriguez and level the promotion tie before Lewis sealed the deal in an emphatic do-or-die fifth rubber.

It’s not the first time he’s received such an honour though, as King finished second in the same unofficial MVP awards just three years ago when he first led Barbados into Group I.

The Swiss combo of all-time great Roger Federer and three-time Grand Slam champ Stanislas Wawrinka, “Fedrinka”, came in just ahead of the then 22-year-old after guiding Switzerland to the 2014 Davis Cup title. That season, tennis website also named the Bajan ace as one of their “five tennis men of 2014” due to that same heroic effort in Davis Cup play.

King, who reached a career high rank of 106, is expected to be one of the frontrunners for the National Sports Council’s Sports Personality Of The Year award, after becoming the first tennis player representing Barbados to make the main draw of a Grand Slam.

On top of that, he had record-setting victories at three ATP tournaments, including a pair of Masters 1000 events, where he took a first set off Gael Monfils in Indian Wells and then went up 4-0 on Goffin at the Miami Open.

King is currently in Australia preparing to play in next week’s qualifying rounds of the year’s first major – the Australian Open. (JM)