Barbados has suffered a 0-4 defeat to Ecuador in a Davis Cup international tennis tournament round of matches and is now relegated from Group One to Group Two, but players and officials believe they deserve better.
Barbados had been promoted to Group One in 2017 but that glorious time was short-lived as the island’s rankings came crashing down a year later.
The Davis Cup is described as the World Cup of Tennis and the largest annual team sport, and a Group One ranking in a total of four groups in this preliminary knock-out phase, places such teams just one notch below the World Group that features playoffs, quarter finals, semi-finals, and a final match-up for the title of best country in the world.
“We belong in Group One. If we didn’t belong in Group One, then they wouldn’t promote us. Our objective is to get to Group One when we were in Group Two, and we have accomplished that objective so far in our history,” said a defiant team captain, Damien Applewhaite despite the defeat.
In the weekend matches, top Barbadian and world-ranked player, Darian King, failed to get past Ecuador’s number two Emilio Gomez who won 6-3, 3-6 and 6-3 in a fixture that sucked the spirit out of local fans.
Number two seeded Matthew Foster-Estwick also went down 6-0 and 6-1 to Roberto Quiroz.
In the doubles Darian King and Barbadian teammate Haydn Lewis went down 4-6 and 6-7 to Ecuador’s Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo.
Xavier Lawrence, a 19-year-old, lost in straight sets 0-6 and 1-6 to the experienced Ecuadorian Diego Hidalgo.
“It was disappointing for us because we wanted to be more competitive from a score line point of view. There is no doubt the sort of effort my boys put in because they give a hundred percent,” said Applewhaite.
Lewis supported the captain in his assessment on the effort of the Barbados players.
“Once again, we’ve tried our very best, and we’ve proven on more than one occasion that we are a Group One team.”
He however went on to point to the absence of meaningful facilities and financial support for tennis and players on the island.
Noting that this is the third time in the island’s David Cup history that Barbados hit that coveted Group One ranking and was relegated, he said, “I think the problem is Barbados is a Group Two-minded country … If the team gets promoted, then the country must promote them even further because if we were to go to the world group, you can’t treat us like a Group Two team. If you treat us like a Group Two team, then it is going to be very difficult for us to stay up”.
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