Kettering’s Dermot Bailey has helped earn Great Britain the chance to play off for a medal on his senior debut for his country at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the International Tennis Federation’s flagship wheelchair tennis team event, in Tokyo.
Bailey, twice previously selected by the Tennis Foundation to represent Great Britain in the junior event in 2009 and 2011, kicked off his senior debut in the men’s World Group with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Thomas Flax of Austria in Monday’s first round-robin tie.
The 22-year-old British No. 5 then went on to partner teammate Paul Stewart to defeat Flax and Nico Langmann 6-4, 7-6(3) to complete Great Britain’s 3-0 victory over Austria.
“It’s not been a bad World Team Cup debut. It’s good to play with Paul in the doubles as we’ve played together a few times beforehand. I didn’t feel too nervous beforehand, I felt confident going into both matches,” said Bailey. “Flax was a difficult opponent in singles, he plays well at the net and volleys well, but I played my own game and it worked.
“In the double we knew that if we clicked for a few games then in tie-break that we’d be okay. We lost a bit of concentration in the tie-break but we got it together. The support has been great and our team captain Karen has been amazing.
Great Britain’s semi-final berth was secured on Wednesday when Marc McCarroll and Alfie Hewett won both singles rubbers in the second round-robin pool tie against Argentina. Bailey and Stewart were unable to complete another 3-0 win after slipping to a 6-1, 6-1 defeat to the higher ranked pairing of Ezequiel Casco and Agustin Ledesma, but Great Britain are still through play Japan in Thursday’s semi-finals.
“There’s a bit more pressure playing for Great Britain than for just yourself on the regular tour, but it’s a great atmosphere and to be in the position now of playing for a medal is very exciting,” added Bailey.