Alex Diaz, a freshman on the Georgia men’s tennis team this past season, was a star for Puerto Rico at the 2017 Davis Cup regional competition, which was played at the Carrasco Lawn Tennis Club in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Competing in Americas Group III, Diaz boasted a perfect 4-0 record at the No. 1 singles position and 2-0 doubles mark over the six-day period to help the Puerto Ricans advance to Group II. In all, Puerto Rico went 4-0 as a team in the round-robin format, before taking down Costa Rica, 2-1, in the promotional playoff.
“Playing for Puerto Rico in that situation was such a great experience, especially since I am playing other countries against players I have never heard of or seen play,” Diaz said. “When you are in an event like this, you learn how to find another player’s weakness and use that to win because every single player is different, so it was just a great learning experience overall.”
Diaz, an Athens native and son of head coach Manuel Diaz, began the week with a 7-6 (1), 1-6, 6-4 victory over Jamaica’s Rowland Phillips, before teaming with Alex Llompart for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 win over Phillips and Jack Bicknell in doubles to lead Puerto Rico past the Jamaicans.
The following day, Diaz won in straight-sets, 6-4, 6-3, over Jody Maginley from Antigua and Barbuda to help his team claim another 3-0 win. Against Honduras, Diaz once again played a pivotal role — this time taking a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4 win over Alejandro Obando to put Puerto Rico in the promotional playoff.
It was there where the Puerto Ricans faced Costa Rica in a match that went down to the wire. In the tight 2-1 win, Diaz had a hand in each of his team’s points with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in singles, before clinching the contest with a 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory in doubles.
“The final match was a very emotional experience,” Diaz added. “Our No. 2 player in singles lost his match, and then I ended up losing the first set before winning in three in singles. While we were playing doubles, my partner actually pulled a muscle at 3-3 in the first set. He told me he was just going to stand in the alleys while I cover the whole court, and somehow we won 7-6, 6-4. The Uruguay team was there cheering us on as well as some random fans, which helped us win against all odds.”
This is the third year Diaz has made an appearance in the Davis Cup regional competition. He is 8-4 overall, with a 6-2 mark in singles and 2-2 doubles record for his career.