Azar says all set for 'exciting' Davis Cup tie
AZAR...we are definitely on target and we are meeting all our deadlines (Photo: Observer file)

With just over a week to go before the start of Jamaica's Group Two Davis Cup play-offs tie against Estonia, president of Tennis Jamaica (TJ) John Azar says all systems are now in place for a successful staging of the championships.

The play-offs, which will be held in Jamaica for the first time in 15 years, will be staged at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre in Kingston, February 4 and 5.

Azar told the Jamaica Observer that the venue has undergone a massive refurbishing exercise over the past few months with the installation of a brand new lighting system. He also stated that the seating has also been extended to 1,500 in time for the championships.

"I am feeling very good; it is a lot of work, but we are definitely on target and we are meeting all our deadlines, and so I am very confident that come February 4 and 5 that we are going to be ready to host a first-class event," said Azar following Thursday's media briefing, which was held at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre.

"The ITF officials are coming in next week to do their inspections and I am very confident that by the time that they come in, each of the deadlines that we have to meet will be met. It is a lot of work, but the team is working very hard and there are no questions about it, we are not expecting any surprises," he added.

The Jamaican team will be led by the country's top player Blaise Bicknell, along with Rowland " Randy" Phillips, John Chin, Jacob Bicknell, and the TJ president's son, Daniel Azar.

Azar said the Jamaican players have been preparing well at their various universities across North America and, therefore, the fans can expect an exciting two days of tennis at the championships.

"I think it is going to be excellent and the atmosphere is going to be electric, and the level of competition is going to be extremely high," he said.

"Certainly, I would like to encourage everyone to get tickets because they are going fast and they are available online and prepare for what is going to be two incredible days of tennis.

"Our players are extremely strong, a mean the team is led by Blaise Bicknell, who is ranked, and I think he is in the 700s now, but in my opinion, he is far better than that to be quite frank," Azar added.

He paid tribute to the other members of the team.

"We have Randy Phillips who is extremely experienced with playing Davis Cup for many years and I am very excited to see him playing his first home tie. John Chin is a player who is coming up, he is certainly coming into his own and he is ATP ranked.

"Daniel Azar...he is, how we could say, we are looking for in the future because he is only 17-year-old and he has certainly been playing very well. Jacob Bicknell's results in the All Jamaica were very strong and he is in good form and so we are feeling our strongest team is certainly in the coach's view and in my view as well," Azar ended.

— Robert Bailey

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