Feb. 23, 2011
WACO, Texas -
Baylor assistant men's tennis coach Chris Brandi
was recently selected to play for Puerto Rico's Davis Cup team in its upcoming tie against Paraguay, March 4-6, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
"There is just something special about representing your country in the Davis Cup," head coach Matt Knoll said. "It is definitely a different environment then you are used to in tennis and it is a big honor. I know Chris is really excited to get a chance to play."
In the tie, two singles contests will be played on the first day, a doubles match on the second day and then two more singles matches on the third day. The team that wins three out of the five matches will advance to the next round of competition.
Brandi, who has been the assistant to Knoll for two years, began looking into becoming a part of the team in September, after being encouraged by Knoll and some of the Baylor players.
In December, he took a trip to Puerto Rico for a tryout in front of Puerto Rico's coach and was informed that he had made the team. This is the first time that the 28-year-old had pursued the opportunity of joining the Davis Cup team.
"It is one of those things - better late than never," Brandi said. "Hopefully we do well and hopefully they will keep asking me to do it."
Brandi, who was an All-American at Florida, had not played a competitive match in almost six years, before playing in a tournament during the fall with former Baylor player Denes Lukacs. However, Brandi is still working to get in shape for next month's match.
"I have got to lose some weight, so that has been my main goal," Brandi said. "I am about halfway to where I am trying to be with that stuff, but it's hard after so many years."
In the upcoming match, Brandi hopes to just play doubles, but said that the possibility is there for him to have to play singles as well.
Regardless of the outcome against Paraguay, Puerto Rico will have another match in July against either Venezuela or Haiti. Currently, Puerto Rico is ranked 75th out of 132 in the Davis Cup rankings and is in group two of the four tier Davis Cup system.
Brandi is not Baylor's first representative to play on a Davis Cup team as current Bears Roberto Maytin and Sergio Ramirez played for Venezuela and Columbia respectively, while former assistant Rob Cheyne played for New Zealand and former Bears Denes Lukacs, Benjamin Becker and Matija Zgaga also participated for their countries.