Roberts, Newman show chemistry in doubles

LIMA, Peru — Tennis Team Manager of The Bahamas’ Pan Am Games team and Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary-General Derron Donaldson had some advice for the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) following the first round ouster of Bahamian doubles representatives Justin Roberts and Baker Newman on Tuesday night.

Roberts and Newman lost, 6-2 and 6-2, to Guido Andreozzi and Facundo Bagnis, of Argentina, in men’s doubles, at the Club Lawn Tennis venue at the 18th Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Tuesday night.

The Argentine pair are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in men’s singles. In post-match comments, Donaldson expressed the view that the federation should encourage Roberts and Newman to seek to join their touring schedules at times, to get in more court action together.

It was easy to like what was demonstrated by Roberts and Newman on Tuesday. They were poised, and, clearly were comfortable with each other, but the necessary blend was not there. In comparison, Andreozzi and Bagnis seemed a glove fit. Obviously, they benefited from playing numerous doubles matches at home in Argentina, and on tour. As a result, they dominated the Bahamian duo. Roberts and Newman were game, though. They fought hard but were at a distinct disadvantage. Still, there were some highlight moments created by Roberts’ big serves and Newman’s lob and net winners. Ultimately, they were just against a better team, at this time.

The defeat meant the end of Pan Am Games action for Newman, but Roberts had his second-round match scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. They were both reflective after the match on Tuesday.

“They were good players, quality players who did not make many mistakes. We gave it our best, but they were a bit better than us tonight,” said Roberts while Newman pointed to a few excellent exchanges that saw them come out on top. The partners expressed satisfaction for the first-round victories in singles.

“Coming from a little country, for both of us to move beyond the first round was huge. I’m proud. We were up against players from much larger countries. It was real good that we came through,” said Roberts.

As for Newman, the experience was the big factor.

“It was awesome to be here, playing against really good players from truly big countries. The experience was fantastic,” he said.

They looked good on court together as aforementioned, and, could have the kind of future in doubles that will bring back memories of the Leo Rolle/John Antonas and Mark Knowles/Roger Smith combinations.

Donaldson made a reference to relay preparation in track.

“They have to join their touring schedules. Like a relay team (in track), they need to practice together and play more together, to have the needed chemistry,” said the tennis team manager.

Well, the message has gone out to the federation. Hopefully, in the immediate future, efforts will be made to help give Roberts and Newman the best chances for success when they team up to represent The Bahamas. The consensus view is they form a good pair.

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