UAE to bank on the young brigade

The top brass at Tennis Emirates (TE) are confident the UAE can bolster their youth to target entry into Group II of the Davis Cup in the near future.

After playing for 24 years in Davis Cup ties, the UAE has never gone beyond Group III.

On Saturday, the UAE earned yet another promotion into Group III while maintaining an unbeaten run of four wins in five days in their Asia/Oceania Group IV encounter held in Amman, Jordan over the weekend.

Led by coach Hisham Bramly and non-playing captain Mahmoud Khalifa Al Beloushi, the squad landed at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport on Sunday. The squad was received by Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Vice President, Sara Ahmad Baqer, General Secretary and Nasser Al Marzouqi, Member, TE among others.

“Maybe these juniors need another two or three years to develop and then we can aspire for a further promotion,” Falaknaz told Gulf News.

“Hopefully, this entry into Group III will be yet another step forward for us,” he hoped.

Stuck in Group IV for 2015 and 2016, the UAE’s cause of earning a promotion partly rested on the performances of their younger players.

With the experienced Mahmoud Nader indisposed midway with a leg injury, it was Omar Behroozian stepping in as the vital cog — leading juniors such as Fahad Al Janahi, Abdul Rahman Al Janahi and Faris Al Janahi in fulfilling the challenge.

The Al Janahi cousins shouldered their responsibilities while winning all their matches and helped the UAE maintain their unbeaten run with convincing 3-0 wins against Myanmar, Oman and Saudi Arabia in Pool A before getting past Bahrain by an identical margin in Saturday’s promotional play-offs.

Born two years after Behroozian made his Davis Cup appearance in 1996, Fahad has had a dream appearance while winning both his matches in Amman this year. Abdul Rahman, four years older than his cousin, first played for the country in 2012, and since then has figured in seven matches, winning four and losing three.

“These results have given us so much confidence that we can safely dream of an entry into Group II within the next few years,” Sara Ahmad Baqer, General Secretary, TE said.

“There is no doubt that Omar [Behroozian] brings so much to the table with his experience of playing Davis Cup for more than 20 years. But Omar cannot be in the squad much longer. However, it is the performance of the young players that gives us so much faith to look at a better future,” she added.

Despite their fine run, the UAE dropped two places in the ITF Rankings to 98. But that is really not a cause for concern. “At the end of the day it is the results that matter. We had a lot of expectations on this bunch of players,” Baqer related.

“This campaign has given these young players a lot of confidence and I am sure they can only get better and improve. We have a series of measures planned for the UAE squad now, and this includes a couple of overseas training camps. The first one will be sometime before the end of this year and the second one in February/March,” Baqer added.

Hisham Bramly, who first accompanied the squad as coach for their training camp in France and then in Amman, hoped that the win would act as motivation for the blend of youth and experience within the squad. “All these players’ level of play is better than Group IV. I know Group III will not be easy, but they can work towards another promotion,” Bramly said.

“From now on it is all about working hard together as a team and keeping the focus,” he added.


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