Phillips thanks home crowd for Davis Cup win
JAMAICAN TENNIS star Rowland ‘Randy’ Phillips said home crowd advantage really made a difference in Jamaica’s 3-2 win over Estonia in their Davis Cup Group II play-offs at the Eric Bell National Tennis Centre on Sunday.
Phillips dismissed Kristjan Tamm 2-0 (6-1, 6-1) in the opening game on Saturday, while Blaise Bicknell stopped Kenneth Raisma 2-1 (4-6, 6-4, 6-0), to put the hosts in the driver’s seat (2-0) going into Sunday’s final day.
But Raisma and Jurgen Zopp combined to defeat John Chin and Daniel Azar 2-0 (6-1, 6-2) in the doubles event, to take the tie to 2-1.
However, Bicknell got the better of Tamm, who lost by default after he flung his racket and hit an official.
Bicknell, who had won the first set tiebreaker 7-6, secured Jamaica’s place, with 11 other qualifiers in Group II, after Tamm’s outburst.
In the final reverse single, which was only of academic interest, Jacob Bicknell lost 6-1, 6-0 to Johannes Seeman.
Despite what turned out to be an easy victory, Phillips thought it was an evenly poised tie and credited the fans for giving Jamaica the edge.
“It (Group II qualification) is an amazing feeling. We have been to this play-offs three times and haven’t won. So it is a great feeling for us to go through on Jamaican soil.
“We have a young team, we are building and getting stronger. But the crowd was the deciding factor.
“They felt the pressure and we felt their energy. It is so much fun with the Jamaican people supporting us. It could not have been any better, to come out in front of the crowd and execute like this was amazing,” said Phillips.
Team captain/coach Mel Spence said Jamaica deserved their place in Group II.
“I am unbelievably proud. We’ve put in a lot of hard work and we deserve to be in the position we are in.
“I am super proud of the guys. Randy was incredible. Blaise didn’t play his best tennis but fought very well and Daniel and John in the doubles did their best and got an opportunity to get their feet wet.
“But the whole team did well. It is the first we have been to Group II for 25 years and it is just awesome. The spotlight is now on us and it is for us to push on,” he said.