Friday, April 12, 2024

Captain: Davis Cup is pressure to win


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Kevin Yarde has acknowledged just how huge the moment is going to be.

Only two weeks before Barbados’ biggest tie ever, the Davis Cup captain concedes his squad faces immense pressure to win the Group II final, but believes the players’ current overseas assignments will have them ready for Mexico.

Yarde expressed the sentiment while addressing yesterday’s Press conference detailing the particulars of the September 12-14 tie at the National Tennis Centre.

“There’s always pressure to win, and we always want to win at home for sure, but it’s going to be a little more of a pressure situation as it’s a final but the good is that it’s going to be felt on both sides of the net,” said the non-playing captain.

“We know it’s going to be a big challenge [but] the guys are amped up and really looking forward to this challenge as they’re training and playing tournaments to get match-ready.

“So I think it’s going to boil down to which team handles the situation the best. We just want a bigger crowd than we had the last time because the crowd response is really helping to give us that extra gear and giving us the motivation to give 110 per cent out there,” he added.

The comments came in clear recognition of the gravity of appearing in the first ever Group II final in the country’s 24-year Davis Cup history.

And the tension is two-fold, as Barbados will no doubt feel they won’t get a better opportunity to get promoted to Group I after the luck of the draw magically gifted the ultramarine and gold all three of their ties at home this year.

Their last showing against Mexico may be cause for concern too, considering the South Americans romped to a 5-0 drubbing without even dropping a single set two years ago.

“We just want to take the matches to them this time,” said Yarde of his team’s aggressive strategy heading into the tie.

“The Mexicans are traditionally clay court players and baseliners, so one of the things we’re going to look at is attacking the net a lot more. We want to keep them out of their comfort zone and keep the points shorter by not getting into too many long rallies where we can.”

The hosts also enter with the confidence of playing unbeaten at the National Tennis Centre since returning to Group II, while the dynamic duo of Darian King and Haydn Lewis already own a doubles victory over their Mexican counterparts, Santiago Gonzalez and Daniel Garza, three years ago.

The Barbados Tennis Association isn’t leaving anything to chance either, with vice president Sandra Osbourne revealing that the federation will be putting in extra seating for the big final.

“There are limits to how much [seating] we can have just because of the constraints of this location, but the point is that we do anticipate that we will have some more patrons coming to see the tennis and we are seeking to do a bit more advertisement this time in terms of letting the public be aware,” said Osbourne.

“We expect a very good turnout on the first day and the second day, but the third day, that turnout tends to be dependent on where the tie is.”


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