Brett Baudinet, second from right, and the Pacific Oceania team celebrate winning promotion from Asia Oceania Group Three. Photo: Supplied/21091901
The Pacific Oceania men’s tennis team is celebrating a Davis Cup promotion that’s been almost a decade in the making.
regional team led by Cook Islander Brett Baudinet beat Syria on Saturday to
clinch promotion from Asia Oceania Group Three, alongside Hong Kong and
contest the Davis Cup World Group Two Play-offs in February for one of 12 spots
in the main draw.
Islands veteran Baudinet was a part of the Pacific Oceania team promoted to
Group Two back in 2009, before being relegated three years later.
been) a long wait, a long battle so it’s great, and especially with two young
boys (Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy and Heimanarii Lai San from Tahiti),” he said.
their debut so what a great way for them to start, winning our Group Three and
helping the team move up to Group Two.”
Oceania has won all six head to head match-ups against Syria, dating back to
1996, but had to pull out all the stops in Amman, Jordan to keep their streak
Mainguy was beaten 6-2 6-1 by Hazem Naw in the opening singles rubber but the
Vanuatu teenager was praised for his performance against an unexpected
actually flew in their top player just for the last day...because he wasn’t
seeded as high he actually had to play the number two singles against Clement,
so he obviously had a very tough one to come into the finals,” Baudinet
it all adds up because obviously the guy he played in the doubles too and
taking it to him on the singles doesn't make it any easier for them going in
Sinclair from the Northern Marianas levelled the tie with a 7-5 6-7 6-4 victory
over Kareem Al Allaf in the second singles rubber before linking up with
Baudinet for the decisive doubles clash.
experienced duo won the opening set 6-3 and were a break up in the second before
succumbing in a tiebreak.
they held their nerve in the decisive set to prevail 6-4 and clinch promotion
to Group Two for the first time in a decade.
were actually up a tie break at the start at 2-1 serving at 40-15 and we
managed to play a couple of huge points and broke them back then held on to
4-all where we're up the net and a huge net point,” Baudinet said.
tried hitting a passing shot pass Colin and he clipped it off the corner of his
racquet and it fell over the net for a drop shot winner, so that ended up
putting us up 5-4 and then we broke them to take the victory so it was
Pacific Oceania team ranges in age from 18 to 39 and the youngest member,
Mainguy, learnt a lot from his first experience of Davis Cup at senior level.
a junior it was actually my first tie as well, Junior Davis Cup against
Vietnam. That time I won in three sets so that brought back memories as a
junior and then it was such a close game (in my senior debut),” he said.
had a match point against the Vietnamese guy in the third set. I didn’t manage
to pull the win but it was just a great first match and very encouraging.”
secured his first singles win against Qatar before a tough outing against
Syria, but said the whole experience was amazing.
saw what Davis Cup is all about: these close games, one-all deciding doubles
and I was on the sideline with Heimanarii just watching, supporting, stressing
and all the emotions you go through when you support. It was an amazing
San was a late call-up to the squad and made his on-court debut in the doubles
defeat by Qatar.
20 year-old was grateful to be even considered for selection and learnt a lot
over the past week.
I can get some more but we don’t know as of now, but it was great. I was
surrounded by so much experience, like from Brett and Colin, and it was just
great to see how they perform on court and everything.”
Sinclair is already up to seventh on the list of all-time Davis Cup wins for
Pacific Oceania, with 14 wins 16 attempts across singles and doubles since
making his debut in 2017
Pacific Games gold medallist is already in Germany preparing for his next
tournament on the ITF circuit and Baudinet, who tops the list with 37 wins from
65 matches, said he was an example to everyone.
him definitely we couldn't do what we've done. The guy’s so solid,” he
for him to actually still play singles and come on and play doubles with me
afterwards and keep that intensity level up and the level of his game it was
awesome and amazing and definitely his experience on the road helped the team
get through, 100 per cent.”
also paid tribute to the team's non-playing captain, Richard Breen, who flew in
from Spain at short notice, and New Zealand based Executive Officer David
I was supposed to be the playing captain but definitely having (Richard) on so
I could focus on the matchplay - because I actually was on the court as coach
for both the singles matches before playing the doubles,” he said.
Richard there was huge so a big thanks to him joining us this year really
helped get us through and then also thanks to David Smith. He does such an
amazing job trying to organise the team.”
Sinclair is now back to plying his trade on the ITF Circuit while Clement
Mainguy and Tahiti’s Heimanarii Lai San are returning to their respective
universities in Ohio and South Carolina.
is unable to return to Rarotonga right now, because of Covid-19 travel
restrictions, but has just been able to reunite with his wife Maya and son
Blake for the first time in five months ahead of another major milestone.
wife and our two year old are in Chicago and we’re expecting our next child in
three weeks. As much as we’re excited to have the win ... I want to go and see
my family as well.”