HAVANA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Cuban tennis commissioner and one of the best players in the island's history, Juan Antonio Pino, Friday expressed his optimism on the return of locals to Davis Cup as part of the group America 3.
"We have shortlisted a group of talented young players, who have improved in their daily work and we are optimistic, as we have seen how they have been perfecting their game," Pino was quoted as saying by official daily "Granma".
The America 3 group will hold matches from June 18 to 27 in La Paz, Bolivia, and includes Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Honduras.
Pino said the return of Cuba to the competition represents a great opportunity, after an absence of five years.
"It is a fact that this return gives us prestige before the International Tennis Federation (ITF), motivates the players and gives us the opportunity to develop our sport," he said.
The Cuban team is headed by local champion Randy Blanco, and includes also the Cuban number-two player, William Dorante, together with Roberto Cruz, Omar Hernandez and Ernesto Alfonso.
This will be the 102nd edition of Davis Cup.
Cuba participated in the Davis Cup for the first time in 1924. Then for thirty years, Cuba remained in the Cup, but with poor results, and since 1959 began a long absence which finally ended in 1987.
In over seven decades of Cuban presence at Davis Cup, the most outstanding player was Juan Antonio Pino, captain of the national selection for several years and current national commissioner of the discipline.
Pino played 13 years in the Cup, appeared in 63 games, single and double, with 34 victories and 29 defeats.