Columbus teen competes for Puerto Rico in Davis Cup

Starting Friday, the world of professional tennis takes a step back and players represent their countries as the first round of the Davis Cup gets under way and Columbus' Christian Garay will take part in the matches.

Garay, 16, will represent Puerto Rico in the first round against Mexico. Garay will play the No. 2 singles spot Friday. Playing No. 1 is Alex Llompart, former No. 1 for Pepperdine University, who will take the court first.

All matches in Davis Cup are best three out of five sets, singles or doubles.

"I have played Junior Davis Cup for Puerto Rico before, so the coach and association are familiar with me and my play," Garay said Tuesday from Puerto Rico. "I came down this past weekend and the team practiced all week for the matches.

"The weather is perfect down here right now and I feel I am playing very well, so I am looking forward to the match."

For 2013, 130 countries are entered in Davis Cup play -- 16 nations are in the World Group. Those 16 will battle for the Davis Cup championship.

Puerto Rico is in the Americas Zone Group 2. Countries in this group are playing with hopes to advance to the World Group in future Davis Cup competitions.

The doubles will take place Saturday, then Garay will return to the court for reverse singles Sunday.

"The team has practiced and been working each day so we should be ready," Garay added.

Joining Garay to watch his match will be Columbus' Jeri Stewart, his coach since he won the national boys clay court when he was 12, along with her husband, Michael Stewart.