Cuban tennis returns to the Davis Cup after a four-year absence

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After a four-year absence, Cuba will send a team to participate in the group III of America of the Tennis Davis Cup, on June 17-22 in La Paz, Bolivia, the National Commission of the discipline announced here Wednesday.

The Tennis National Commissioner Juan Antonio Ramos informed that the island's squad is comprised by the national champion, Randy Blanco, William Dorante, Roberto Cruz, and Alberto Victor Fernandez as the captain.

The Cuban selection will compete in the single events as well as in the doubles, Ramos stressed.

Until the moment is confirmed to meet at the Bolivian capital, besides of the hosting country and the island, Bahamas, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, and Paraguay, he reported. The winners will ascend to the group II of the American Area for the season 2014.

Ramos recalled that the last Cuban participation at the Davis Cup occurred in 2009, represented at that time by Dorante. He also remembered that Dorante and Blanco had last February the only international experience of the team prior to the next Cup.

Recently the national federation had said that the return of the island-country to the calendar of the maximum worldwide competition of male tennis by teams represented a great profit, after an absence of four years.

"It is a fact that gives us prestige before the International Tennis Federation (ITF), motivates the players and gives us the opportunity to develop our sport," the sports organization said.

This will be the 102 edition of the Davis Cup comprising 16 teams in the World Group and more than a hundred in the different regional segments.

Cuba participated in the Davis Cup for the first time in 1924. In 1925 it was played for the first occasion in Havana, but the advantage of being the home-field was not sufficient to avoid the 5-0 victory of the Spanish visiting crew. A year later the island' s representatives won over against the Canadians, 3-2, marking their first triumph.

Later, Cuba remained in the Cup for thirty years, but with poor results, and since 1959 began a long absence which finally ended in 1987.

The best moment for Cuba in the Davis Cup, occurred between 1992 and 1993 when the island defeated Paraguay and Chile, 4-1 in both cases, leading the national squad to the discussion for the ticket to the World Group, the last stage before the finals.

Cuba was scheduled then to clash with Yugoslavia, a rival of much higher level, but the political sanctions against that nation did not allow it to participate. That absence gave Cubans the victory for not participation of the opponent, and the inclusion for the first and only time in its history, in the World Group.

In over seven decades of Cuban presence at the Davis Cup, the most outstanding player was Juan Antonio Pino, captain of the national selection for several years and former national commissioner of the discipline.

Pino played 13 years in the Cup, appeared in 63 games, single and double, and finished with the favorable mark of 34 victories and 29 failures.

The Davis Cup was created in the United States in 1899, when the young Dwight Davis and his fellow students from the U.S Harvard University organized a tournament aiming at showing their superiority in tennis over the British. Davis idea ended up as the longest annual sporting event on the planet.

The Davis Cup never rests because the teams can hold up to four matches at different times of the year. Dwight Davis never imagined over a century ago, that a simple duel between college students would become the main tennis tournament among selections in the world, nor that his name would be associated with a huge silver trophy, become one of the biggest dreams of every tennis player in the world, including Cubans. Endi

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