Tennis association head distances self from Gardner issue

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By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA), Cordell Williams, has recused himself from the matter involving national player Kevin Gardner who was a “no show” for the country’s participation at this year’s Davis Cup held in Uruguay in June.
The player was temporarily banned in June by the association while investigations into the matter continued.
Since then, however, the association has failed to bring the matter to a close with Secretary Peter Quinn refusing to place a time limit on the decision.
According to Williams, he feels too strongly about the issue to rule on the player’s future.
“For me personally, Kevin Gardner and Cordell is not just president [and athlete], it’s a personal friend, family relationship and Kevin was my student when he was young, he was my student when he was in college,” he said.
“I still worked with him when he tried professional and even though you feel a certain way against certain things you have to have respect for people and what people have done for you. So, for me, it’s a personal issue and I have nothing to do with it and whatever the association’s disciplinary committee decides that’s a different thing,” he added.
Reports are that Gardner was slated to join other members of the team in Miami where they were scheduled to visit the Uruguayan embassy in hopes of acquiring visas granting them entry into Uruguay.
The player however failed to show for the scheduled appointment, leaving the country with a three-member team in Uruguay.
Williams said the matter is yet to come up for discussion at the association level.
“Until they discuss it or bring it up, I will not raise the topic. I will not bring it to the executive. I just wash my hands of the whole issue because you must have respect and treat people different than that. Everybody can have their feelings but you have to have some sort of respect for authority so I have no comments over that and as I’ve told you, my hands are washed of that topic,” the tennis boss said.
Gardner has denied the allegations that he opted out of representing the twin-island state at the prestigious international tournament, claiming that the association did not purchase a ticket for his travel from North Carolina to Miami in the USA where he was scheduled to meet the rest of the traveling party.

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