Major Jr withdraws from Davis Cup team


Chief Sports Editor

One day after earning his way on the Davis Cup team at the final trials over the weekend, veteran Kevin ‘KJ’ Major Jr has decided to withdraw his spot for several reasons.

The 29-year-old professional tennis player, in a letter submitted to The Tribune and circulated on social media, said his decision stems from recent actions taken by the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association and president Perry Newton, which he perceives as unfair and lacking in transparency.

“Our number one player Baker Newman, who has been a dedicated member of the team since qualifying in December 2023, was inexplicably removed from the team at the last minute,” Major Jr said.

“This action is not only unjust but also detrimental to the team’s morale, cohesion and success. Abrupt decisions are unfair to the players who have worked hard to secure their positions and contribute to our collective success.”

Major Jr finished as the runner-up to his younger cousin Michael ‘MJ’ Major Jr in the final on Sunday at the National Tennis Centre. They were to join Baker Newman and Rodney Carey Jr, who won the December trials at the Giorgio Baldacci Open, along with Justin Roberts who, as the top ranked Bahamian, was exempted from the trials.

When they heard that veteran player/coach Marvin Rolle was replaced by Ricardo Demeritte, Major Jr said he and other players requested the BLTA to allow Rolle to remain on the team because of a mirroring of a situation faced by the country’s Junior Davis Cup team with Demeritte.

Major Jr said the request by the under-16 boys to have Demeritte as captain was met by the BLTA as they appointed former Davis Cup player turned coach Philip Major Jr, leading to a favourable outcome for the team. “We are now in a similar situation, requesting the replacement of Ricardo Demeritte with our long-standing and highly successful captain, Mr Marvin Rolle who is highly respected and admired not only by the Davis cup team but tennis in the Bahamas and around the world,” Major Jr said.

“Our long lasting captain Marvin Rolle has an outstanding track record and has guided us to numerous victories both as a player and a coach. Despite our earnest requests, the BLTA has chosen not to act in the same fair manner as it did with the junior team.”

Major Jr, who has played for seven years on the team between 2013-2023, said this inconsistency highlights a lack of fair play and transparency within the BLTA.

“As the players representing our beautiful country, we believe our voices should be heard and respected in decisions that directly affect us,” he said. “Due to these circumstances, I cannot participate in a system that disregards fairness and the well-being of its players.

“I also call for the resignation of the current BLTA administration, as this situation clearly demonstrates a pattern of unfair and non-transparent behavior. I hope the BLTA will take these concerns seriously and work towards creating a fairer environment for all athletes.”

Efforts to contact Newton were unsuccessful up to press time.

The Davis Cup team, when finalized, will play in Asuricion, Paraguay from June 17-22 in the Americas Group III in a field that includes Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and host Paraguay.

The countries will be split in two groups - one with four teams in Pool A and five in Pool B. The two teams finishing on top of each pool will be promoted alongside the nation finishing in third place.

The nation finishing at the bottom of pool B will be relegated alongside the nation finishing in eighth place. All of the other teams will remain in Group III for next year.

The Billie Jean King Cup is scheduled for August 5-10 in Tacarigua, Trinidad.

Former national champion and long-time Fed Cup (as it was formerly called) player, Kim O’Kelley, will travel as the captain of the team that is expected to comprise the December Invitational winners Simone Pratt and Sydney Clarke and final trials winners Danielle Tghompson and Tatyana Madu.

Countries expected to participate along with the Bahamas are Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, El Savlvador, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St Lucia, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

There will be a two-stage round-robin format. Three pools of four teams on Monday-Wednesday. Teams finishing in the same position in the first pool stage will compete in a second-robin on Thursday-Saturday to determine final positions.

Two countries will eventually be promoted and all of the others will remain in Group III.

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