Team Jamaica ready for Davis Cup test against Estonia
President of Tennis Jamaica, John Azar, has confirmed that preparations are in top gear for the hosting of Jamaica’s first Davis Cup tie in 16 years.
The two-day World Group II play-off tie against Estonia will take place on February 4 and 5 at the Eric Bell National Tennis Centre in St Andrew.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday ahead of the tie, Azar said members of his team are looking forward to a first-class tournament.
“I’m extremely pleased, we haven’t hosted it (Davis Cup) in over 15 years, so it’s something that we are very, very proud of, and we are looking forward to putting on a first-class production. The courts and the lighting are also first class and I’m excited for our players who will have the opportunity to showcase their skills here in Jamaica.
President Azar also revealed that current ticket sales ahead of the Tennis show-piece event highlights the fact that the viewing public is eager for the start of the event as he’s in fact upbeat about proceedings.
“Ticket sales are going well, they only went out on Wednesday and they are going very well. I’m encouraging persons to purchase tickets early so God’s willing we are looking towards a sold-out crowd here inclusive of a very vibrant and loud atmosphere as team competitions like these tend to be. I’m not only looking forward to winning the tie, but also hearing from the International Tennis Federation that we had the loudest crowd they’ve heard in a long time,” said Azar.
Mel Spence, captain and coach of Team Jamaica, believes his group, on the back of what he saw from them in December of last year is more than prepared to defeat Estonia.
“Preparations have gone fantastic, they (players) were here in December and they got to play against some good players from Barbados and Bahamas and they did incredibly well then, so I think they are well prepared,” Spence said.
With the last player for Team Jamaica set to arrive on the island on February 3, a day before the start of the tournament, much has been made about the arrival and how this could affect camaraderie among the guys. However, coach Spence, while agreeing that despite the scheduling dates not being ideal, believes his five-man group, which includes the likes of John Chin, Blaise Bicknell, Randy Phillips, Daniel Azar and Jacob Bicknell, the group has been in close communication with each other.
“Both yes and no. I mean it’s not ideal, but as I said our players are currently in competition, and as far as jelling goes we are keeping in close contact on a regular and daily basis, so I’m concerned, yes, but, I have to work with what I have,” he concluded.
The 12 winners of this round of World Group II play-offs will qualify for the 2023 Davis Cup World Group II.