Sunday, April 14, 2024

King’s ready for Mexico


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The King is back, and apparently better than ever.

Top-ranked tennis pro Darian King has all but guaranteed Barbados their first ever trip to Group I next year, having said his current form should push the Davis Cup team past Mexico in next week’s Group II final at home.

A rather confident and upbeat King made the comments after arriving in Barbados yesterday buoyed by the success of consecutive tournament wins in Europe.

“Basically those were the warm-ups for the Davis Cup, so right now I am ready coming into final and I am looking for something great, looking to make history for sure,” said the 22-year-old local No.1.

“Right now I am peaking and this is the right time to be doing that, and there is no better place to play a finals than right here in Barbados, so definitely I will be ready for Mexico.

“I am sure my teammates will be ready, so we’re going to come out victorious for sure because we’ve all put in the work and I can definitely see the glory,” he assured.

The promise of victory was a lofty guarantee to say the least considering Barbados have never previously appeared in a Group II final in their 24-year Davis Cup history, while also falling 5-0 to Mexico in the teams’ last tie two years ago.

Career-high ranking

But that rubber was on Central American soil, and Barbados are currently unbeaten at the National Tennis Centre – the site for the September 12 to 14 final – since returning to Group II play a couple of seasons ago.

King also wasn’t in the kind of form that he’s in right now. The Bajan ace has climbed to a career-high ranking of 377 in the world following recent tournament wins in both Romania and Holland.

The summer success hasn’t been restricted to just those competitions though, as King also previously made three straight quarter-final appearances, including a first ever last eight showing at an ATP Challenger event in Binghampton, New York.

“I think I am ready to make the next step because basically my brother Chris, who is my coach now, he and I have been discussing things about my game that we’re looking to improve and I think it’s now all starting to come together,” explained King.

“For my whole life I have been playing hoping to wear down my opponents and making it physical and not taking it to them. But I think for this last month I have been putting the pressure on them, taking points from them and I think that is a major aspect of my game now.

“The mental part, the physical part, I think it is all starting to gel, so I hope it continues this way after Davis Cup so I can make it into the top 300 by year end,” he added.

The dramatic turnaround comes even more of a surprise considering King is just three months removed from considering taking a lengthy break from the game after aggravating a back injury.

“I have to thank Shannon Lashley, Jacqui King and Marita Marshall so much because we discussed a lot of things like what was going on, what was wrong and what we needed to work on and they were up for the task,” King explained.

“The first thing we started doing was core strength and doing a proper schedule which included stretching after workouts, so I really owe it all to them.”

The Mexicans were also slated to arrive in Barbados yesterday, while King’s Davis Cup teammates Haydn Lewis and Seanon Williams are currently overseas playing tournaments in preparation for the final.




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