Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Bicknell confident ahead of Dom Rep tournament

Published:Thursday | December 3, 2020 | 12:19 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica’s number one-ranked tennis player Blaise Bicknell said he is feeling confident of victory ahead of his scheduled participation in next week’s Men’s Pro ITF in the Dominican Republic.

Bicknell, who is down to compete in the main draw in Santo Domingo, will be joined by his older brother, Jacob, who will be competing in the qualifying round along with Randy Phillips.

Bicknell will be competing in his second tournament in the past four weeks, having competed in the ITF Championships in the United States, where he made it to the second round of the tournament.

The 19-year-old told The Gleaner that he had been working hard to improve his all-round game in practice and was looking forward to putting on a good showing.

“I am expecting to do very well, competing very hard, and to play my best game,” said Bicknell. “Yes, I think I can win (it), but I just have to play my game and stay focused on what I need to do.”

Bicknell is currently rated 1,348 on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) world rankings. This tournament is expected to feature players that are ranked in the top 400 in the world.

He underscored that he was expecting some stiff competition from his rivals but despite this, he was confident that he could come out on top.

“I am expecting tough competition because some of the top-ranking international players from around the world competing in it,” said Bicknell. “You can expect me to do my best and represent Jamaica well in this tournament. I am going to take it one game at a time and just use the momentum from each match to keep pushing and going forward.”

Bicknell’s coach, Mel Spence, said his charge had been training diligently and was focused on doing well in the tournament.

“He knows what he has to do to do well and what he has to do to get there. I just want him to play good, balanced tennis and compete very well, and the rest will take care of itself,” said Spence. “He is in pretty good shape, but he is probably not as fit mentally or physically as he should be because no one has really competed in the last month.”

Both Bicknell brothers are expected to leave the island for Santo Domingo tomorrow. Phillips is already in the capital city competing in a number of tournaments.