Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Lewis key to Davis Cup hopes – again


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SO IT ALL comes down to this.
Of course, Barbados’ hopes would be pinned on our man returning from Florida fit, and with some big wins under his belt.
Yup, once more everything hinges on the country’s big overseas-based pro.
No, not Darian King. Because so much more rides on exactly what Haydn Lewis will give our Davis Cup squad.
This isn’t to suggest Lewis is Barbados’ best player. No, that title has long been surrendered to the man they call King. He isn’t even our most important, not after King proved he could almost single-handedly win a tie once on home soil.
But no one can expect Darian to do that against Chile. So while Haydn is not the best or the most important, this makes him the most crucial.
With no disrespect to the talents of Russell Moseley and Seanon Williams, neither comes close to replicating Lewis’ elite skills when the big-hitting, sweet-serving lefty is on his game.
The problem is Lewis may not come close to replicating those elite skills either – not if he thinks he can just turn it on at will following these self-imposed breaks from the game.
I don’t know what exactly goes on in Lewis’ life. Few do, to be quite honest, so this may not be fair, but what I do know is that we can’t hope to save him for one solitary doubles match and pray that works again.
Doesn’t sound familiar? Backtrack nine short months ago.
Lewis, coming off a lengthy break, returned to the Barbados team hosting a once-strong Spanish-speaking opponent in what was the country’s biggest tie on home soil and decides to skip playing the No. 2 singles to reserve his energy for the crucial doubles encounter.
Now, here we are full circle.
Lewis, coming off a lengthy break, returns to the Barbados team hosting a once-strong Spanish-speaking opponent in what is the country’s biggest tie on home soil.
Only thing is that this strategy all depends on Darian winning every match he takes part in (which seems to be King’s pattern on home soil right now anyway) against a squad which has the distinction of playing at the highest level.
Yes, a strategy that also depends on Darian being fully fit – a privilege that may not be afforded to us, considering the last we saw of King he was hobbling around with a balky back.
So again, with no disrespect to the talents of Moseley and Williams, we just might need some of those elite skills Haydn provides.
And just in case you think otherwise, just look at what happened the last time we tried to do without Lewis’ gifts. Yeah, I know, a 4-1 drubbing in El Salvador isn’t the kind of thing you want to bring up too regularly.
What we do want to remember, though, is that at his best, Lewis has a serve that could run anyone in the world off the court. At his best, his lefty forehand could do likewise.
At his best, he once proved to be Barbados’ best, and still owns all of our Davis Cup records, including most total wins (38), singles wins (24), doubles wins (14) and ties played (36).
At his best! We can only hope for that right now. Because everything hinges on it.


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