THREE very talented under-16 tennis players will represent Trinidad and Tobago from today in El Salvador in the pre-qualifying tournament for the Junior Davis Cup.
T&T finished ninth of the 16 participating countries in the previous two years, but considerable improvement is expected with the presence of Jelani Davidson, Nabeel Mohammed and Tobagonian Elan Mendes.
There will again be 16 teams – Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, T&T, Suriname, United States Virgin Islands, El Salvador – involved during the week and only the champions will advance to the qualifying tournament.
This competition will take place from May 2-4 in Montreal and will also involve regional powerhouses Mexico, the United States and host country Canada. The top two from this tournament will advance to the main draw of the Junior Davis Cup, which will be contested in Mexico in late September.
Mendes, a member of last year's team who reached the quarter-finals of the recent Tranquillity Open Tournament, and Davidson were two of the most dominant players in the region in the under-14 division in the last two years.
Mendes captured an ITF (International Tennis Federation) singles title and four in doubles in 2011, while Davidson swept the singles titles in all three legs of an ITF Caribbean Junior Circuit and picked up a doubles crown with the assistance of Mohammed in the middle of last year.
Mohammed, who lost a close two-set match to eventual champ Richard Chung in the second round of "Tranquil" after serving for the second set, actually claimed two ITF under-14 doubles crowns last year and lost to Davidson in two singles finals.
Dunstan DeNoon, who retained the "Tranquil" mixed doubles title with singles champ Breana Stampfli and also reached the doubles final, travelled with the players as coach.
Action will take on a daily basis until Saturday.