In Tennis, the Davis Cup tournament, which has been around since 1900 and pits nation against nation in the storied international competition, serves as the quintessential peak of sports. Tennis greats that have played in Davis Cup include Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Andrew Agassi, Rod Laver, and the list goes on. As of 2016, 135 nations were entered into the Davis Cup and in 2018, Guam will get a crack at competing in the 117-year-old tournament.
“We elevated our status in the (International Tennis Federation) to a Class-B nation last year,” said Torgun Smith, Guam National Tennis Federation president. Guam used to be a Class-C nation and was ineligible to compete in the Davis Cup. All that has changed. “In 2016 the ITF member body voted in favor of Guam being voted to a Class-B nation, based on our development and our involvement in tennis with the ITF,” said Smith. Sharing that the decision was unanimous, he said, “The ITF studied our application and made a recommendation to the annual general meeting ITF members who voted 100 percent in favor of our promotion to Class-B.”
“No matter what the results from the off-island players are, we will be selecting at least one player from the local players training here on Guam.”
And, while Guam will most likely never win the Davis Cup, it’s a positive step forward in the development of the sport on island. “It’s a chance for all of our top players to play in an elite international event annually so they can have a reason to train every year and have something to strive for,” said Smith.
While the location of the 2018 Davis Cup tie is unknown at this time, Smith and the GNTF board are working diligently to amass the best team possible. “We’ve put a notice out to all of our top players to ask if they are available and eligible for Davis Cup 2018,” said Smith. We’ve gotten several replies back from both our local and off-island players,” added Smith.
He shared that at least one player currently living and training on Guam, regardless of other candidates’ potential, will be selected as a member of Team Guam. Smith explained, “No matter what the results from the off-island players are, we will be selecting at least one player from the local players training here on Guam.”
“Team Guam will be a member Group IV, which is the lowest group of the world cup of tennis and we will be in a pool of 12 countries,” said Smith. Guam will be lumped together with Bahrain, BangladeshIraq, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Oman, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the UAE.
“We don’t know where or when in 2018 yet. The host nation will bid to host the country. One of the 12 of us will be selected as a host,” said Smith. He also indicated that, this time around, Guam will not host, nor has an application been sent in.
Besides being eligible for the Davis Cup, Guam may also compete in the Federation Cup, the female equivalent. However, at this time, Smith and the GNTF board do not feel that Guam has the depth of players to create a women’s team. “We have an opportunity for a Fed Cup team also. At this time we feel that based on the feedback we’ve gotten we don’t have enough girls to field a competitive team and we feel like once we field a team we want to continue with the play and not have a one-off,” said Smith.
Source: Weiss, M. (2017, September 6). Guam’s Davis Cup dream becomes a reality. https://www.postguam.com/sports/local/guam-s-davis-cup-dream-becomes-a-reality/article_0fbbab4e-92dd-11e7-a1aa-b3ffb1697482.html