By Neto Baptiste
Although indicating the country’s willingness to compete at this year’s Davis Cup, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) Cordell Williams, is not making any promises that the twin-island state will be represented at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) event.
His major concern, Williams said, would be for the health of the players as, from all indications, the tournament could take place in Panama where a total of 448 new cases were recorded on April 1 alone.
“I am not sure if we will take part because if our health authorities advise us not to go, then you know I am going to follow that guideline. Jody Maginley is injured so he is definitely out. We will have to put a team together and I remember getting plenty licks last year when I said we cannot develop one player and go to a team event, we have to open the door, and so if we decide to take part it would be interesting to see the team we would put together to take to that competition,” he said.
Williams said also that with one of the country’s top professionals in Jody Maginley ruled out because of injury, the other players in Shakir Elvin, Cordell Williams Jr, Kyle Joseph and Carlton Bedminster would have to carry the country’s flag at the demanding tournament.
He believes that given the lack of competitive matches due to the ongoing pandemic that the team would be at a disadvantage.
“Having the players home training and hitting balls is one thing but when you get to that level where even though Mexico is hosting tournaments right now and Costa Rica hosting tournaments and I know Trinidad is on lockdown but Trinidad would have a bigger pool of players so they might be a little more competitive than our players. Our players may look good here to go but when you get there it would be a whole different ballgame with the level of the competition you will be faced with, that would be our challenge,” he said. Reports are that the Davis Cup could start in June this year. There has been no competitive tennis in Antigua since March last year.