Tennis boss apologizes, says comments were misunderstood

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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) Cordell Williams has apologized to the tennis fraternity here, after an interview he did on the good Morning Jojo Sports Show last week did not go down well with the body’s membership.

“When I spoke, I spoke clearly as to what had happened and the way forward for us to continue. It was never my intention to bring down the team or to bring down anyone. I hope at some time we can play over clippings of that interview and wherever I might have gone wrong I would apologize to the team, apologize to the association, if I hurt anybody’s feelings,” he said.

Williams, in his previous interview, challenged the players to up their game, adding that they are in need of consistent and high-level competition if this is to be achieved.

One such player, he said, is Kyle Joseph – currently based in Mississippi, USA – where he is not afforded the level of competition needed to take him to the next level.

The association, Williams said, will be putting measures in place to assist Joseph and other players like him.

“When he started first, his tennis was not up to the level where it should be, but as we continue throughout the tournament he continued to improve. I also learnt from Kyle, while on the trip, that he wanted to play some professional tennis and that he was planning to move down to Florida which I said was a good thing because then he would get the quality competition that he needs,” he said.

“We were out of touch for a while so I never knew he wanted to continue following his dreams in terms of wanting to be a professional player but when we came back I spoke to the association and we will see, in collaboration with Kyle and his parents, how we can make that possible,” the tennis boss added. 

The former player also sought to explain the decision to rule out senior player Carlton Bedminster for selection ahead of next year’s Davis Cup.

“He started his business with a coach in Florida where he runs a tennis academy. So this year he was supposed to have gone off to England – as he is the coach for Darion King and anther young lady – and he said to me that he can’t continue to do this [playing Davis Cup] to represent the country and he is losing money, and I admitted and agreed he is losing money. I told him that based on him saying he wants to give it up and focus on something else, then I will release you of the agreement that you and I have because it was an agreement between he and I,” he said. 

Reports are that Williams has come under pressure for his bluntness, after stating that some players must improve their personal game if the country is to do well at future Davis Cup competitions. Williams said his intention was not to offend any player and or their parents.

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