Captain Spence says Davis Cup players adjusting to clay in Lebanon
Jamaica's number two ranked tennis player and a member of the Davis Cup team in Lebanon, Rowland Phillips, in action in this file photo.Photo: Observer file

CAPTAIN of Jamaica's Davis Cup team Mel Spence said his players have been adjusting well to playing on the clay court ahead of Friday's start to their Davis Cup Group Two tie against hosts Lebanon.

The championships, which will be held September 15-16 in Jounieh, Lebanon, will see the country's number one player Blaise Bicknell, along with Rowland "Randy" Phillips, John Chin, Daniel Azar, and David Gorldsmith taking the courts for their country.

Spence told the Jamaica Observer from the team's base in Lebanon on Tuesday that he is impressed with the way the Jamaican players have adjusted from the hard court to the clay court surface in Lebanon during their practice sessions since arriving in the Middle Eastern country over the weekend.

"I am feeling great at the moment because we have been here for a couple of days — as we have been here a little bit early and the last member of the team came in last night [Monday] — and we have been having some good practices," said Spence.

Jamaica's Davis Cup Captain Mel Spence (right) passes on pointers to the country's players John Chin (left) and Blaise Bicknell during a training session at the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, El Salvador, in June.Photo: Garfield Robinson

"The players are adjusting to the clay court and they are doing very well because they are very confident, and I am extremely proud of all of them. They have made the adjustment from hard court to clay court almost seamlessly and so I am very happy with where they are right going into this tie on Friday," he added.

The Jamaicans are expected to face tough opposition from the Lebanese whose team will likely include Benjamin Hassan and Hady Habib, ranked 250th and 404th in the world, respectively.

Despite this, Spence added that the Jamaicans have prepared mentally and physically for the championships and he is very upbeat they will do exceptionally well in the tournament.

"The matches are going to be absolutely tough because this is a level up from where we were against Estonia, and on paper these guys are higher ranked than us. But to me, that is just numbers and so I am convinced that we have a very good shot of doing well here," he said.

"It is also going to take unity, heart, confidence, and just togetherness — and we have that bond and we have the togetherness right now, which is great," Spence went on.

He also explained that it will be a huge boost for Jamaica's tennis if they were to win this tie and advance to Group One of the competition. In fact, Spence underscored that no Jamaican team has ever made it into Group One of the Davis Cup tournament.

"This is a massive tournament for us because if we win this tie then we will be in Group One, which will eclipse the furthest that we have ever been, ever, in Davis Cup," he said.

"There is a world group which consists of the top 16 teams, and group one is the next-best 16 teams, so if we win then we will be inside the top 32 in the world," Spence explained.

Robert Bailey

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?