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UAE tennis team captain calls for change

Mahmoud Khalifa Al Beloushi feels country can make the next step with sustained programme

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Omar Al Awadhy went down fighting in the UAE’s match against Vietnam, who ultimatelyended the hosts’ hopes of promotion.
Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE tennis team captain has urged the new board of directors of Tennis Emirates (TE) to lay out a sustained training programme to ensure success in next year’s Davis Cup.

Playing at home, the UAE fell two match points short of a promotion for 2014 during their Group III Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone encounters that concluded late on Sunday at the Aviation Club.

The UAE started off with a surprising 2-1 win over Pacific Oceania on the first day and were just two match points away from making it 2-0 with a win over Vietnam the following day, with Omar Behroozian leading 4-2 in the second set after Hamad Abbas Al Janahi had won his singles.

However, Behroozian’s long-time stomach injury resurfaced as the UAE’s best player struggled with his serve and lost in three sets. The following day Vietnam secured a 3-0 victory to end the UAE’s hopes of gaining entry to the qualifying pool.

“Our results indicate that we are already knocking on the doors of Group II,” UAE national team captain Mahmoud Khalifa Al Beloushi told Gulf News. “All we need now is a sustained programme that will include training, camps and tournaments over the next few months so that we can keep this momentum going.

“We were serious contenders to make the move into Group II, but then the injuries happened and we had to then re-assess our goals and ensure we stay put in Group III for another year.”

With Behroozian struggling with his stomach strain injury, the UAE had to forfeit their doubles tie against Vietnam on Friday after Mahmoud Nader sprained his ankle with the UAE leading 4-2 in the second set.

“We have a new board of directors at Tennis Emirates and they have all been so supportive,” the captain said. “We have proved here that we are capable of moving into Group II, and we could have if we did not have the two injuries [Behroozian and Nader]. Asia is hard, but I am convinced that we can get a promotion under ideal conditions with the players we have.

“We are used to the idea of practice and tournaments only when Davis Cup is round the corner. We need to change this thinking simply because other teams have a much better spread programme that sees their players travelling to tournaments and camping throughout the year.”