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Baudinet in doubt for Davis Cup

Friday 3 September 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in Sports, Tennis

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Baudinet in doubt for Davis Cup
Local tennis player Brett Baudinet (right) and Cyril Jacobe from Vanuatu. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.

The Pacific Oceania Davis Cup tennis team is still waiting to confirm its final squad less than two weeks out from competing in Asia Oceania Group Three.

Local tennis star Brett Baudinet was named as the playing captain earlier this year but could miss this month’s tournament in Amman, Jordan, which was originally scheduled for Vietnam in June.

The Rarotonga-based athlete is trying to get an MIQ voucher in Auckland, so he can return home after the competition, while his wife is also due to give birth to their second child next month.

“It’s been a bit difficult for me because originally when we had Vietnam, I had a space booked but now that it got moved to Jordan, as we all know, MIQ is extremely difficult to get spaces,” he said.

“I’ve requested for a special exemption but obviously their rules as to who they will give a special exemption for doesn’t fall within the sports category.”

Oceania Tennis Joint Executive Officer Richard Breen will join the squad in Jordan and act as team captain if Baudinet is unable to attend.

Pacific Oceania’s most experienced – and successful – player, who made his debut back in 2000, is facing the prospect of not being able to return home to the Cook Islands until next year.

“We kind of made the decision for myself that it looks like I may have to fly on to the United States, where my wife who is pregnant – we’re expecting our second born – cannot get home here either,” he explained from Rarotonga, where he also runs five businesses.

“We’re going to have to stay in the United States to have our baby and I’ll probably be stuck there for three, four or five months before I can even return back to Rarotonga.

“So bit of a sacrifice I got to take just to go and play Davis Cup but definitely worth it.”

Pacific Games singles champion Colin Sinclair from the Northern Marianas has been competing in Europe for much of the year and will be the team’s number one in Jordan.

However, the number two spot is up for grabs after the man he beat in the gold medal match, Papua New Guinea’s Matthew Stubbings, had to pull out.

Stubbings has been replaced by Tahiti’s Heimanarii Lai San, who along with Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy will be flying in from university in the US to make their senior Davis Cup debut.

“He played at the Pacific Games in Samoa and actually played in the bronze medal match against Clement,” Baudinet said.

“They’re good singles players, which is great for our number two spot, and then we’ve obviously got those three boys to look at as the best combo with me in the doubles as well.”

Pacific Oceania won promotion from Asia Oceania Group Four when they last competed in the Davis Cup two years ago.

Last season’s competition was cancelled because of Covid-19 and Baudinet said they were looking forward to representing the Pacific once again.

The Pacific Oceania team is due to arrive in Jordan next Sunday, three days before the competition gets underway.