1 May 2018

Sport: Bright Davis Cup future tipped for Pacific Oceania

12:25 pm on 1 May 2018

A former team captain believes Pacific Oceania has plenty of room to grow in the Davis Cup tennis competition after overcoming a range of obstacles to retain their position in Asia/Oceania Zone Group Three.

The men lost to Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia in pool play last month before beating Jordan in the relegation playoff stay in Group Three for a third straight year.

The President of Oceania Tennis, and former Davis Cup team captain, Cyrille Mainguy, said Pacific Oceania performed admirably, considering longtime doubles representative Daniel Llarenas was now representing Guam, while their top singles player was not in the best of health.

"With a strong doubles player like Brett (Baudinet from Cook Islands), him and Colin (Sinclair from Northern Marianas), the injured player, they actually went undefeated the whole week and they won the relegation match against Jordan in a thrilling three setter," he said.

"So congratulations to the team because it's not easy...as Pacific Islands we get players from different islands and they just come together once in a year for the Davis Cup."

Daniel Llarenas has previous Davis Cup experience with Pacific Oceania.

Daniel Llarenas has previous Davis Cup experience with Pacific Oceania. Photo: Supplied

Players from Guam previously represented Pacific Oceania but made their standalone debut earlier this year in Group Four, after the US territory was recognised as a Class B nation by the International Tennis Federation.

Cyrille Mainguy said Oceania Tennis now has four Davis Cup teams: Australia, New Zealand, Guam and Pacific Oceania, and it's up to each country and territory to decide what path is best for them.

"Guam seemed like it was time for them to go to (ITF Class B). Other nations if they do OTF is there to support them and having an extra team in Davis Cup to me it's great, if they can do it I'll encourage them every day," he said.

"Yeah we could think it's taking away players (from Pacific Oceania) but on the other hand it's for other nations to actually step up and develop players and train them."

Team Guam during their Davis Cup debut in Oman.

Team Guam during their Davis Cup debut in Oman. Photo: Supplied/Guam National Tennis Federation

Cyrille Mainguy said Guam did well to maintain their status in Asia/Oceania Zone Group Four while he was confident Pacific Oceania will also continue to be competitive.

"They [Guam] did really well, they beat some of the teams and Brett (Baudinet) I have to give him a small mention as well to congratulate him because...we had an Oceania Tennis Federation AGM and he was presented the Davis Cup award for having played 50 Davis Cup ties," he said.

"This one he will be adding another five ties onto his record and he's been undefeated the whole week so he's a tough, strong player and playing with Colin this time I guess was as good as playing with Danny because they won all their doubles matches."

Cyrille Mainguy said with Tahiti's Heve Kelley still only 21 and newcomer Matthew Stubbings from Papua New Guinea just 18 there is plenty of scope for improvement in the years to come, while the Junior Davis Cup team, which includes his son Clement Mainguy, recently made the zone finals in Malaysia.

Tahiti's Heve Kelley competing for Pacific Oceania in the Davis Cup tie in Iran.

Tahiti's Heve Kelley made his Davis Cup debut in 2015. Photo: Supplied