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Tennis needs dollars to support talent
Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter
Following a successful tournament, which saw Jamaica reclaim their place in the Davis Cup Americas Zone Group II, non-playing team captain Llockett McGregor outlined corporate support as a key component in the team's grand ambitions of progressing to the next level.
"We have the talent to do even better, but the problem has always been a lack support," McGregor said at a reception held for the team at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre on Wednesday.
"When you get to that level, you are competing against pros, some even on the tour, and they have the advantage of being able to compete at the highest level.
"Our players need to be able to do the same and that will not be possible without corporate support," he added.
Led by top seeded Dominic Pagon, a former prot?g? of the non-playing captain, the team, which also included Damion Johnson, Damar Johnson and first-timer Christopher Lawson, registered a 3-0 win over Honduras and despite losing 1-2 to Barbados, advanced to the final round.
In a tough encounter against a Guatemalan team, who were yet to lose a rubber, the Jamaicans came from behind to register a stunning 2-1 victory.
Damar Johnson went down to Sebastian Vidal, 6-3, 6-3 to see the Jamaicans fall behind 0-1. A tough 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 win for the number-one seed Pagon over Paiz Christian saw the scores level, then Johnson teamed up with his younger brother, Damion, coming from a set down to eventually see off the pair of Manuel Chavez and Christian Saravia 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).
On the final day of competition, Jamaica defeated Puerto Rico by an identical margin. Damar Johnson got the Jamaicans off to a good start when he defeated Jos? Perdomo 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. The Puerto Ricans, however, pulled level when Alex Lomapart defeated Pagon 6-2, 6-2. However, in another determined stand by the Johnson brothers, they went on to defeat Llompart and Jos? Sierra 6-3, 7-6.
In another match from the final group, Guatemala defeated Barbados 2-1 to book their spot.
Overall, the Jamaicans finished second behind Guatemala as, despite finishing with two points apiece, they were slightly behind on games won and lost.
Jamaica last earned promotion to Davis Cup group II in 2004, but came crashing back down four years later following a loss last year to the Netherland Antilles.