Kenya fall short of reaching Davis Cup Group 2 despite great run in 2017-18


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Kenya fall short of reaching Davis Cup Group 2 despite great run in 2017-18

The Kenyan Davis Cup squad was formed back in 1974 when they lost 5-0 in Nigeria, returning to action in 1986 and playing for 20 consecutive years to make a name for themselves and become at least a decent tennis nation. After a couple of years in Group I (a great success considering their tennis facilities and financially weak Federation), Kenya settled into Group 3 and Group 4 in the mid-90s, competing until 2005 when they lost all five Group 3 ties.

They returned in 2010 with no success, dropping 12 of the 14 Group 3 clashes before embracing more solid run from 2016, winning eight out of ten ties in the 2017-18 campaign and securing the spot in the Group 2 for the first time since 1994.

Nonetheless, the name of Kenya is not listed among the Group 2 teams for 2019 after the recent Davis Cup changes implemented during the ITF Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida back in August. Under the new rules, the results from the past four years were taken into consideration while forming the ranking lists and Kenya suffered from the fact they hadn't played in 2015, finishing just under the line and having to compete in the Group 3 once again.

Kenya and Poland have sent an appeal to the ITF Arbitration Committee but they were rejected (no one could have expected anything different), keeping Kenya in Group III Africa together with Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tunisia and Uganda.

Kenya will try to host these countries in Nairobi in June although they feel disappointed after all the hard work they had been through in the past two years. "We are very disappointed since we didn't know the changes adopted at the AGM would affect the Davis Cup format in 2019," said Tennis Kenya chairman James Kenani.

"It's demoralizing to countries even if the prize money in Davis Cup has been increased. Alternatively, the changes should have come into effect after 2019 since teams had already qualified in 2018. You can't punish countries who had invested their energies to qualify because a new sponsor has come on board. They say countries are bound to benefit immensely but that is not how to manage events."