King Alarm Cup to prepare Jamaica for Estonia clash
AZAR... we felt it is important to have top players in particular getting that level of intense competition over a three-day period.

Jamaica's Davis Cup team will face a strong Caribbean Allstar side for the King Alarm Cup at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre in Kingston December 15-17, 2022.

The Jamaican team, which consists of the country's top player Blaise Bicknell, also includes Randy Phillips, John Chin, and Daniel Azar and will be using the tournament as preparations for the Davis Cup Group Two play-off tie against Estonia, which will be played in Kingston February 4-5, 2023.

The Caribbean professional team includes Darian King from Barbados, who was ranked the top 108 in the world in 2017. The other players are Michael Major, Matthew Estwick, and Justin Roberts, all from The Bahamas.

Tennis Jamaica President John Azar told the Jamaica Observer that this tournament is going to be excellent match practice for the Jamaicans because the Caribbean team consists of some of the best players in the region.

"In speaking to Coach Mel Spence, we felt it is important to have top players in particular getting that level of intense competition over a three-day period, somewhat similar to creating the same environment at which the Davis Cup will be played under," Azar said. "It will be a similar format: singles, reverse singles, doubles and we feel that it is going to be very important to their preparations for the Davis Cup. It is important to our preparation because whenever you can get top guys together in a similar environment, similar weather conditions, and everything that you are going to be playing in early February, will be tremendous for us.

"I am super-excited. It is something that we are looking forward to hosting here in Jamaica and by all indications we are going to have over 1,200 people seating for the tournament and half of the tickets are already pre-sold. We are expecting it to be a bumper crowd. It also allows the Jamaican public to watch our top stars, so we are certainly looking forward to it," he said.

Azar says that the courts at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre will be repaired after the All Jamaica Tennis Championships this month, in time for the country's hosting of the Davis Cup next year.

Spence says the players are looking forward to the clash against their Caribbean counterparts.

"We thought it is best to bring in these guys as a precursor to our Davis Cup, and so it should be a fantastic competition and it is what we need right now because we will have them here for such a short space of time," he said. "Some of them have higher world rankings than our guys, and so it is going to be forced competition for us.

"I feel good about our chances against Estonia because our guys are all competing in professional tournaments and doing very well and they are fit, and they are healthy, and they are happy."

BY ROBERT BAILEY Observer writer baileyr@jamaicaobserver.com

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