Bicknell, Phillips turn focus to Barbados in David Cup
WITH just under a month remaining before Jamaica’s Davis Cup Group Two play-off tie against Caribbean counterparts Barbados, the country’s tennis players Blaise Bicknell and Rowland “Randy” Phillips are expressing confidence in securing victory.
The matches are scheduled for February 3 and 4 at Eric Bell Tennis Centre (EBTC) in Kingston. Bicknell, Jamaica’s top-ranked player at 399 in the world, shared his confidence, attributing it to diligent training efforts.
“I am feeling great and very confident at the moment,” Bicknell said. “Randy and I, along with my coach [Mel Spence] and Chris Paul [physical trainer], have been working hard throughout the Christmas period. We are now gearing up for overseas tournaments to ensure readiness for the Davis Cup.”
Recognising Barbados as a formidable opponent, Bicknell said he is expecting an exciting championship.
“They are a good team, because we are friends with them, but it is going to be some very competitive matches,” he assured. “However, I am confident that we will get the job done.”
Bicknell, 22, says being the country’s number one comes with pressure, but he is not bothered by this and is just focused on the task next month.
“I don’t think about the pressure because all you want is to go out and perform well for your country â€” and that is all I am thinking about right now,” he said. “That is our goal.”
Bicknell emphasised the importance of home support and hopes for a strong turnout, akin to the previous year when they defeated Estonia in the Group Two play-offs at EBTC.
“Home support is crucial for us so I am hoping that everyone will come out and support us, just like we had last year against Estonia,” he said.
Phillips, 29, shares Bicknell’s optimism, citing rigorous training in preparation for the upcoming tie.
“I am feeling good because we have been training hard and getting prepared,” he said.
Phillips says he plans to participate in overseas tournaments before the tie so that he will be in excellent shape going into the tournament.
Barbados, with its top-ranked player Darian King at 513 in the world, is acknowledged by Phillips as a formidable opponent.
“They have good players on their team because I know Darian King, but I don’t know who will play number two for them,” he said. “Regardless, we have to come with our best against them.”
Phillips says the home crowd plays a very vital role in the support of the team.
“The home factor is such an important element because we saw it last year against Estonia and how much the crowd helps,” he said. “We are looking forward to the crowd coming out and supporting us next month.”