Pratt, Russell, Rolle make national tennis teams

After three days of strong competition in the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) Invitational Tennis Trials, Simone Pratt, Larikah Russell and Marvin Rolle have booked their spots for the national teams set to travel later this year.

Pratt and Russell will join Sydney Clarke and Kerrie Cartwright on the team for the Fed Cup.

On the men’s side, Rolle will join Justin Roberts, Kevin Major Jr. and Baker Newman as members of The Bahamas’ Davis Cup team.

Over three days this weekend, Pratt, Russell and Elana Mackey won one match each. Pratt defeated Russell on Friday after she retired in the second set. Mackey defeated Pratt after she retired in the second set on Saturday.

In a pivotal match yesterday, Russell needed to defeat Mackey in order to have a chance at making the team. Russell was able to do so after winning 6-2 and 6-1.

Russell said that Mackey was a great competitor who pushed her a lot with her returns and serves.

The BLTA decided to break the tie by tabulating how many sets were won during the tournament by the three women.

Based on that, Pratt and Russell came out as the top two, booking their spots on the Fed Cup team.

Rolle’s spot was clear cut when he defeated top junior player Jacobi Bain 7-5 and 6-1. Rolle’s first win came on Friday against Rodney Carey Jr.

He took down Carey in three sets – 6-3, 3-6 and 6-0.

For Rolle, this will be his 17th qualification for the Davis Cup.

This will be Russell’s 10th time representing The Bahamas. For Pratt, it will be her sixth time.

“It is always a pleasure and an honor to play for the country and to play in the Davis Cup. I have been doing this since I was 16 years old. I am 36 now, so about 20 years. I still feel that I can run with these kids and keep up with them a little bit,” Rolle said.

He added that he is looking forward to going out and enjoying himself and representing his country well.

The veteran believes the quartet for The Bahamas is a very strong unit as he spoke highly of his younger teammates.

Russell said: “It’s very exciting to make the team because I haven’t played competition in a long time. It was really good to get the competition juices flowing again. I always loved representing my country and carrying the country on my back. It’s an honor to have that privilege to represent my country again.”

Playing as number one for The Bahamas on the men’s side is Roberts. The number two will be Major and Newman will be player number three. Rolle will serve as the player/captain for Team Bahamas.

Cartwright is number one, Sydney Clarke is number two and Pratt is number three on the women’s side for The Bahamas. Russell has agreed to serve as player/captain for the team.

The coronavirus pandemic threat has had an effect on all sports and Davis Cup play is not excluded, leaving the process of hosting the event on hold according to BLTA President Darnette Weir.

“With the coronavirus now, things are uncertain,” Weir said. “We were waiting to see when the men will play Davis Cup in Americas Group III. We received a report from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) stating that they are putting the process of hosting for national federations on hold because of that.”

The dates for the Davis Cup Tournament will be announced after the host nation is selected.

No postponement was made for the Fed Cup Americas Group II Tournament which is set for June 10-13 in Panama City, Panama. Other nations that will be playing in that tournament are Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Uruguay and Panama.

The Bahamas first played in Fed Cup in 1990 and in Davis Cup in 1989.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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