JAMAICA WILL host their first Davis Cup tennis tie in more than a decade this weekend and Tennis Jamaica president John Azar believes it is only fitting to have newly laid surfaces for the four courts at the Tennis Jamaica Centre for the February 4-5 tie against Estonia.

Although the upgrade was part of a planned islandwide court refurbishing project, Azar said it being ready just in time for the Davis Cup is perfect timing.

“Last year we spoke about a court rehabilitation programme across the island and the board of directors felt it important that here at the National Tennis Centre we have a first-class facility in terms of playing surface.

“It was not a requirement of the ITF (International Tennis Federation). The courts here before would have met their minimum requirement (for Davis Cup).

“But we are going to keep this event and we felt it prudent to do this,” he said.

“It wasn’t done specifically for the Davis Cup but I think the timing is very good, having it completed just before the Davis Cup tie takes place. The timing is excellent.”

Last Friday workmen were busy adding the final touches and Azar assured everything would be completed the following day.

“The Estonia team is coming in Friday and they should be at the venue saturday for practice,” he said.

The multimillion-dollar project was done without the assistance of the ITF but Azar believes the returns on this investment will only be positive.

“We are looking to host first-class games here internationally and at some point the playing surface may come into question. It is of significant cost but we believe it’s necessary.

“In the long run, the court will generate much revenue to invest back in the sport,” he said.

He noted also that the lights, also recently installed at the facility, are of the highest quality.

“This is of world-class standard. We can host ITF junior events here and a Davis Cup tie like this. The lighting is to a specific standard and that is by design.

“The two courts to be used for the Davis Cup, have been tweeked and adjusted. We have a light metre to check if light is hitting all areas of the court,” he disclosed

“This will give the right atmosphere around the tennis court. This augurs well and will lead to increased activity at all levels.”

From the Jamaica Gleaner