CORK'S Cian Blake has been appointed co-captain of the Irish Davis Cup team.
Due to the unavailability of current captain and fellow Munster man Conor Niland, Blake will share the role as Davis with Ulster performance officer Carlos Miranda.
The duo step up to guide the Boys in Green in their bid to gain Davis Cup promotion from group III in Cyprus next month.
Competing alongside six other countries, it would be to Ireland's advantage to fall into a group of three rather than four to improve their chances of advancing to the 2022 World Group playoffs. The two countries that top the group and the second-place playoff winners will be promoted, so a good draw is essential.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited," said Blake about his appointment. "It's something I've always wanted to do."
Long-standing captain Conor Niland's advice to the interim captains is 'keep it simple!'
"It's the first time as a player or captain that I'll miss since my debut 21 years ago. I'm very disappointed but I'll be in regular contact with the team and coaches throughout and I look forward to being back later in the year."
Having captained teams in the Four Nations and World Vets Championships, it's not only an amazing experience but also an exhausting one. Mentally and physically challenging, you must be prepared to be everything to everyone.
Asking four-time and hugely successful captain Garry Cahill to lend some advice to the provincial officers he said, "know your environment, your opposition and know your players and what advice works for them."
Founded in 1900 the Davis Cup has over one hundred nations entering regularly. Known as the World Cup of tennis and with big names like Nadal and Djokovic competing for their countries, it's easy to see why it's so popular.
Getting a player's point of view from Osgar Ó hOisín, who is currently training on hard courts in Spain for the Larnaca tie said: "The team format is amazing.
"Each match brings an incredible vibe. The sub-captains are great guys, I'm excited to work with them."
In Ireland's 89th year playing Davis Cup, the all Leinster line-up of Ó hOisín, David O'Hare, Julian Bradley and Simon Carr make up an experienced side. And with the co-captains being from Ulster and Munster, the knowledge that can be obtained from this experience and brought back to their respective provinces will help to develop the provincial players to a huge degree.