The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is “investigating” the recent fallout between Antigua and Barbuda’s National Tennis player Kevin Gardner and Captain/Coach of the country’s Davis Cup team, Cordell Williams Sr., during this year’s staging of the event in Costa Rica.
Antigua and Barbuda came from behind to defeat Bermuda on the opening day of the Tournament received an email, from the ITF which stated that they are “investigating the circumstances of the incident” which led to Gardner’s removal and eventual ostracism from the team.
Playing in his first ever Davis Cup match, Bermuda’s Trey Mallory would come off the court recording a straight sets win over Gardner 7-6, 6-2 to give Bermuda the lead.
Efforts to reach Williams Sr. who is also President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) for a comment on this latest development proved futile as calls to his mobile went unanswered. WhatsApp messages to his phone were also unanswered.
Vice President, Peter Quinn, offered no comment on the matter.
According to the communique, the parties involved in the issue are being consulted and the findings will be communicated on completion of the investigation.
Gardner, during a team meeting in Costa Rica, squabbled with Williams Sr. over whether he was right to record the proceedings without the knowledge and consent of those present.
It is also alleged that Williams Sr. had threatened to remove Gardner from the doubles team and replace him with Cordell Williams Jr., his son.
Gardner was subsequently removed but replaced with the country’s top seed, Jody Maginley. It was reported that the association wrote a letter to the tournament referee in Costa Rica, claiming that Gardner was injured and could not continue in the tournament. Gardner denied he was ever injured.
The player was eventually allowed to leave Costa Rica ahead of the team’s scheduled departure after claims of being unable to train with the other players and having limited to no communication with both Williams Sr. and other members of the team.
Quinn subsequently denied Gardner’s claims, accusing the player of fabricating stories.
This year’s incident was not the first involving the tennis association and the player.
In 2017, Gardner was temporally barred from representing Antigua and Barbuda.
Reports are that Gardner was slated to join other members of the team in Miami where they were scheduled to visit the Uruguayan embassy in hopes of acquiring visas granting them entry into Uruguay.
The player however failed to show for the scheduled appointment, leaving the country with a three-member team in Uruguay.
Gardner had denied the allegations that he opted out of representing the twin-island state at the prestigious international tournament, claiming that the association did not purchase a ticket for his travel from North Carolina to Miami in the USA.