Sport-Filler

ALL four members of the Trinidad and Tobago squad will be making their first Davis Cup appearances next Wednesday in Panama.

American Zone Group III of the world’s premier male tennis competition will take place over four consecutive days on clay courts in Panama City and the top two of the 11 participating nations will be promoted to Group II next year.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and all complications related to travelling at this time, the Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has been forced to select only foreign-based players.

And United States-based former prominent junior Rodney Ross will make his coaching level debut in the tournament. Nkrumah Patrick, who is studying at university in the United States, is the only member of the quartet who is not a teenager.

The others picked are Kamran McIntosh-Ross, an American whose grandfather hails from Trinidad, as well as Ebolum Nwokolo and David Rodriguez.

After spending a few months training in Spain last year, Nwokolo returned there not long after capturing the Under-18 titles in both junior tournaments last season—Lease Operators Limited and RBC Junior Tournaments—in November and December.

Rodriguez looked on top of the world after impressively lifting the Under-14 and 16 trophies in the Catch National Junior Championships in April, 2018. However, the grandson of former West Indies cricketer Willie Rodriguez then spent significant time on the sidelines because of injury, and has been based in Florida, USA, for the last two years after only playing a couple more tournaments here.

McIntosh-Ross, who was the national Under-14 runner-up in his first local tournament in 2017 and the Under-16 champ two years later, led T&T to the bronze medal in the North/Central America and Caribbean Pre-qualifying Tournament for the Junior Davis Cup in El Salvador two years ago.

Patrick, a former national Under-18 and 21 runner-up, reached the quarter-finals of the last edition of the National Championships in 2019 and competed in the Davis Cup trails at the end of that season.

TATT president Hayden Mitchell stated that “Nabeel Mohammed, Akiel Duke and Vaughn Wilson” would have definitely been the front-runners in normal circumstances.

Mohammed is the two-time defending national champion and the top-ranked player in the country, while Wilson has won his last three tournaments, including the Tranquillity Open in January, two years after the second-ranked Duke lifted this trophy.

T&T will be competing against the likes of Bahamas, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands next week. The countries will be placed in two round-robin groups and the top two from each group will advance to battle for the two promotion places.

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