Photo by: Christopher Rosenke
Jamaica Davis Cup team ready for Group 2 battle against Greece.
Blaise Bicknell comments on team’s preparedness.
Daniel Azar and Cliff Dwyer celebrates qualifying for the team
After a successful Group 3 run in Panama last year, the Jamaican Davis Cup tennis team will be heading to Athens, Greece to compete against Greece in the first Group 2 draw. The matches will be hosted at the Ace Tennis Club between March 4 – 5, 2022.
Noticeably, the team will not be the same as last year. But the Jamaican contingent will still be qualified, well trained and prepared to take on the challenge. This year’s team comprises: Blaise Bicknell, Rowland ‘Randy’ Phillips, Jacob Bicknell, Daniel Azar, Cliff Dwyer and captain Dominic Pagon.
Blaise Bicknell and Rowland ‘Randy’ Phillips are Jamaica’s two top players. Blaise Bicknell, ranked number 1 in the island, boasts an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking of 1136 and Randy, ranked number 2, has an ATP ranking of 1395.
When asked about the team’s preparedness, Blaise indicated that, “We are all very prepared, I think the team has done well communicating with our trainer Chris Paul, the coaches and the captain and we are all going to meet over there on the 28th and ready to go. I think we have a good chance at winning, because the team that we have is a special team.”
The team, although recognising of the opposing team’s strength, remains determined and confident in their ability to overcome in competition.
Jacob, who played in Group 3 last year, mentioned that, “We are expecting a very high level of tennis from the Greece team. It will not be easy by any means and we are the underdogs going into it. We have been training very hard and can compete at that level so hopefully we will be able to win when we go to Greece.”
New Team Members
Cliff, who had competed on Jamaica’s Junior Davis Cup team, will for his first time compete with the senior team.
He said, “Qualifying to compete for Jamaica is really a blessing and a dream come true for me. I’ve been working for this ever since I started taking the sport seriously which was pretty much when I started to play. Finally, I made it and I’m thankful to God.”
He continued, “I’m looking forward to competing against a high quality Greek team and to gain experience on the professional stage. I also look forward to teaming up with this great group of talented guys and to push each other to accomplish the goal that is set before us.”
Photo by: Yussuf Migoko
This will be 16 year-old Daniel Azar’s first time competing on our national team. His youth is no comparator to the high quality tennis he is able to deliver on the court. Expressing ecstatic emotions, Daniel explained that he was “over the moon” and “super excited” when he realised he made the team.
He said, “To go out there as the underdog in the trials and to get the result I got is something that I am very proud of. It’s a sign that my hard work is paying off and I’m excited to see what the future holds. Not many people can say that they have represented their country on a professional level and it’s a big thing for me and something that I will always be proud of.”
He made it clear that he is taking the upcoming matches seriously because he wants to ensure that he delivers his best results.
“So far I feel very prepared for the upcoming matches. I have been training at my school, and I have trust in my coaches that they will help me be at my best in time for the Davis Cup. I’m also excited to be training with the team, and hopefully we all are in form and ready to go out and compete,” Daniel reiterated.
There is no doubt that the team will do their absolute best. In fact, the preparations and confidence portrayed by all team members show that they are putting their all into making the outcome on March 5th a good one.