Thomas backs team to succeed in his absence
Top men’s tennis player David Thomas admits having to withdraw from Bermuda’s Davis Cup team was a bitter pill to swallow but insists his teammates can hold their own in his absence.
The 24-year old hotel manager, who is ranked among the leading three men’s players in the Island, was originally named among a four-man squad to represent Bermuda at this month’s Americas Group 3 Davis Cup tournament in Bolivia but was forced to pull out due to a conflict.
“When it became evident that I wouldn’t be able to travel with the team I was definitely frustrated,” he said. “It really was an unfortunate situation as my job was really pushing for me to be able to go, but at the last minute a sudden conflict presented itself and that was that.
“Everyone that knows me knows that I would love nothing more than to be in Bolivia playing and cheering my teammates on, but I have no doubts in my mind that in my absence they will still create the opportunities needed in order to do well in the competition.”
Thomas has since been replaced by Naim Azhar who he feels is more than capable of rising to the big occasion.
“Our Davis Cup trial matches were all well-fought matches,” he said. “At the end of the day, most of the guys that have been training are close enough in capability that the guy stepping in for me could very well have been included in the first place. He has the ability to play at a high level, and I’m sure he’ll push himself to do just that.”
On paper, Thomas reckons Bermuda’s team is well blended with youth and experience.
“I think we have a solid team with a good balance of players,” he said. “There is a good mix between our veterans (Jenson Bascome and Gavin Manders) and two of the newer guys to the scene (Philip Cooper and Azhar).”
The upcoming tournament will be held on clay at the Club de Tennis in La Paz from June 17-22.
Bermuda will come up against Bahamas, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay and hosts Bolivia in a round-robin format which will see participants divided into two pools. The eventual top two countries in each pool will play the runners-up from the other pool with the two victorious teams gaining promotion to Americas Group Two for 2014.
Bermuda will be led in Bolivia by non-playing captain and former top player Ricky Mallory who Thomas rates highly.
“I think Ricky was a great addition as captain leading up to Davis Cup,” he said. “He has really been hands on in training and knows what it takes to be successful at the level that our team will face.
“Knowing that in your captain you have someone that is arguably one of, if not the most, accomplished player in the history of local tennis also provides an extra bit of drive to do what is needed not only to play well, but ultimately succeed. I look forward to working with him more in the future.”
Thomas, who won the coveted triple crown (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) at this year’s William Way Memorial Tournament, described the Davis Cup as one of the most prestigious tournaments in world tennis.
“Outside of the Grand Slams and the Olympics, I think that Davis Cup is probably the most prestigious of tennis competitions,” he said. “Depending on who you speak to, it might even be the most prestigious of them all. It's our tennis counterpart to the world cup in football.”
Bermuda are due to depart for Bolivia on June 13.