The Bahamas’ senior women’s national tennis team is currently in Panama City, Panama, and was able to get in two practice sessions yesterday as they prepare for battle. After waiting for just over a year, The Bahamas’ team will experience action today in the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly the Fed Cup, taking on Costa Rica at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Fred Maduro venue.
That Americas Group II tie gets underway at 10 a.m. today.
Kerrie Cartwright, who is player/captain of the team, will lead them over the next few days. Collegiate tennis players Sydney Clarke, Elana Mackey and Sierra Donaldson will also be on the clay courts for The Bahamas. Mackey and Donaldson replaced Larikah Russell and Simone Pratt on the team.
The draw took place yesterday morning, and The Bahamas which is the number one seeded team, is in the same pool with Costa Rica and Uruguay. Cartwright, 29, will be making her ninth appearance at the tournament. She said that she is happy with the draw.
“Firstly, I had no idea we were seeded number one, so that was a shock to me. I’m happy with the draw. I only know one girl from Costa Rica, so everyone else is new,” Cartwright said. The Bahamas is ranked at number 55 in the Billie Jean King Cup Nations Ranking. Uruguay and Costa Rica are ranked at numbers 69 and 70 respectively. The other pool comprises of Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador and host country Panama. The winners from the two pools will play in a playoff on Saturday to see which nation will advance to the Americas Group I in 2022.
Making the trip to Panama in support of the team is Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) President Perry Newton.
“Everyone made it here safely with no issues and everything has been going smoothly so far. They are excited and are eager to get competition underway. They are happy for all of the support from The Bahamas. The draw is one of those things that is indifferent. Honestly, to me, it doesn’t matter who we play. I think that we will be good,” Newton said.
All four of the Bahamian players have made an appearance at the then Fed Cup tournaments. Donaldson has played in five, Clarke has played in two and Mackey has played in one.
“The chemistry has been great with the team,” Cartwright said. “We all have good vibes with each other, and we have all been on teams with Sierra so the addition has been great. The first practice was good. Overall, the girls were great and we worked on everything.”
The team was able get in full practices on Monday before practicing with all four players yesterday afternoon.
“I feel very confident with the team we have. All of the girls are good players and we all will try our best everyday. I don’t have a plan as yet but I want us to approach every match ready to battle any challenges that come our way,” Cartwright said.
The last time The Bahamas played against Costa Rica was in 2017 at this same location. They lost 3-0 that year. Clarke, Donaldson and Mackey were a part of that team. They will look to turn the result in their favor this time around. Donaldson was also on the team in 2016 when they lost to Uruguay. The Bahamas lost 2-1 in that matchup. They will play Uruguay tomorrow.