Retraction and Apology
In our story headlined ‘Bicknell calls for clarity over tennis team selection’ published on Thursday, August 24, 2023 we reported Mr Bruce Bicknell as saying that Tennis Jamaica President Mr John Azar had demonstrated bias by selecting his son Daniel for Jamaica’s Davis Cup team.
Mr BRUCE Bicknell was also quoted as saying that Mr Azar “knows he’s 100 per cent wrong with his decision to include injured and unprepared Daniel on the Davis Cup Team without trials”.
The Jamaica Observer notes that Mr Azar has consistently stated that he had no role in the selection of his son to the team. In fact, Tennis Jamaica had disclosed in a press release on July 31 that its DAVIS CUP PANEL comprising Messrs Errol Campbell, Noel Rutherford and Mel Spence, had unanimously recommended TO ITS SEVEN MEMBER TECHNICAL COMMITTEE that FOUR OF the FIVE players who took part in the February home tie against Estonia, namely Blaise Bicknell, Randy Phillips, John Chin and Daniel Azar, be selected to the Davis Cup team. THE AFOREMENTIONED RECOMMENDATION WAS THEN UNANIMOUSLY ACCEPTED BY THE TENNIS JAMAICA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE OF WHICH MR JOHN AZAR IS NOT A PART.
“The selection of all players is provisional on their passing fitness tests, with this being especially true for Daniel Azar in light of the ankle injury he suffered while competing in an International Tennis Federation (ITF) event in April this year,” the release further stated.
Additionally, on August 23, 2023, the members of this DAVIS CUP PANEL sent a letter to Daniel Azar reiterating their confidence in him and restating that they were unanimous in their recommendation for his automatic selection to the team in keeping with the selection criteria.
With regard to the quote from Mr BRUCE Bicknell in yesterday’s story, we have no evidence that Daniel Azar is injured and unprepared to be selected to the team. In fact, Mr Azar has provided the Observer with a letter from Dr Christopher Hodgkins of Baptist Health South Florida stating that Daniel Azar, who is under his care, “is cleared to return to play without any restrictions”.
Additionally we have no evidence that Mr JOHN Azar made any comment that his son was 80 per cent as stated by Mr Blaise Bicknell. We also have no evidence to support the assertions made that there is a lack of of fairness, transparancy, consistency or a contradiction in the selection process given the fact that Tennis Jamaica had issued press releases stating the basis on which team members were selected and also publicized the team selection criteria, which has been followed in the team selection. We alao have no evidence that Tennis Jamaica or John Azar have failed in their obligations to ensure selection criteria are applied consistently. As was alleged. We therefore unreservedly retract our publication of that claim and the other statements made in relation to Mr JOHN Azar and his son, DANIEL, and unreservedly apologize for any pain, inconvenience, embarrassment and / or wrong impression formed of Mr Azar and his son as a result of our publication.