Sports

Major set to head to Germany

Bahamian pro tennis player looking to take advantage of the opportunity ahead of him

After dominating play on the Florida circuit, and experiencing success around the region, Bahamian professional tennis player Kevin Major Jr. is prepared to take his game to the next level and he’s making the necessary steps to get there.

In order to be among the world’s best, he has to play against the world’s best, and he’ll get a sample of that over the next month and a half.

The Bahamas’ National Champion, now 26, heads to Paderborn, Germany, this Sunday, taking advantage of a special invitation to train and play with the TuS SG Sennelager Sports Club in Western Germany. It is one of the oldest and most comprehensive sports clubs in all of Germany.

Right-handed player Major said he is looking forward to the opportunity to train and play against some of the best players in the world, working on his game every day, and trying to take it to the next level. He is scheduled to play in at least five tournaments in Germany, in what is his first trip to Europe.

“I’m excited. I’m just looking forward to being around a team of guys who are trying to achieve the same goals as myself in tennis, which is to improve and qualify for big tournaments,” he said. “I haven’t had much exposure on the world scene and this will give me a better insight on how well I need to be playing in order to be near the level of the top players in the world. Right now, I’m just looking forward to getting acclimated to the environment and adjust to the red clay courts. It will be good to learn from different players from different places and just continue to improve. I’m looking forward to making a big jump in the sport of tennis.”

Major is set to play in a number of tournaments, primarily on clay courts, and showcase his talent. He’s been home for the past year, during COVID-19, practicing and working on his game. He’s also been helping out with the Mark Knowles Tennis Bahamas (MKTB) program, training youngsters in the game of tennis.

“It’s all about giving back,” said Major. “The program supports me as a sponsor, so it’s only fitting that I assist by giving back to the program. As far as my game is concerned, I believe that I’ve patched a lot of things that needed to be patched and I have a better understanding of what I need to do to win tennis matches. I couldn’t just sit down because of COVID. I had to stay active and make things happen and just hope for the best health-wise. There are a lot of players out there doing the same thing I’m doing, so I have to stay hungry. Once I get accustomed to playing at a certain speed and making adjustments, I would become a better player. A part of the 

solution is being around good players and playing against good players, and this trip to Germany is the beginning of that process.”

Major is one of three Bahamians in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Rankings, tied for 1589 in the latest rankings. He is the second-highest ranked Bahamian behind Justin Roberts (824). Baker Newman is the other Bahamian in the rankings, listed tied at number 1866.

All three are on The Bahamas’ team for the Davis Cup competition at the end of June. The other member of the four-man squad is team captain Marvin Rolle. They will play in the Americas Group III from June 30 to July 3 at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Fred Maduro in Panama City, Panama, meaning Major will transit to Panama as soon as he returns from Germany.

The top two nations from the Davis Cup Americas Group III competition, featuring 12 teams from around the region, will contest the 2022 World Group II Playoffs.

Major is making a return to Davis Cup play for the first time in five years. He has a 4-7 overall win/loss record in singles and a 1-0 mark in doubles. He has a 26-21 career win/loss record, and a career-high singles win over world No. 497 Strong Kirchheimer of the United States. Collegiately, Major has been ranked as high as number two in singles and number seven in doubles in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

“I’ve been idle for about a year and a half because of COVID, but I’ve been working on my individual game and doing private workouts and I feel like I’ve gotten better. It’s all about getting better and better every day,” said Major. “It’s good to be returning to Davis Cup competition. When I get into a rhythm, people know that I’m going to produce results. To be back on the Davis Cup team, which I believe is a stacked team, is pretty exciting. We certainly have the potential to bring it back home. We just have to go out there and execute and give ourselves a chance to bring home the gold.”

In Germany, Major is scheduled to play in the 16th Wetzlar Open in Wetzlar, Germany; the Eintracht Frankfurt Open in Frankfurt, Germany; the Überlingen Open in Überlingen, Germany; the Luxoil Open in Trier, Germany; and the Allershausen Open in Allersharusen, Germany.

Having won the national title at the 2019 Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) Giorgio Baldacci Open National Championships, Major said he feels he is one of the best players in the country and is looking forward to showing his level of improvement at upcoming events.

“I believe it’s a title that I have earned (top player in the country), even before I won the nationals,” said Major. “It’s time to see what else is out there. Once I go out there and do well in these tournaments, that could prepare me for bigger events. I’m at a point where I want to play anyone in the top 10. I feel that would be a good measuring stick for me to see how much I have progressed. I just want to be in a position to compete against the best.”

Major thanked his sponsors for helping him get to this point, particularly the MKTB program, which has assisted in more ways than one, and everyone who is behind the scenes helping him on his journey. The Bahamian tennis sensation leaves for Germany on Sunday.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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