Competitive tennis returns to the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Beausejour, Gros Islet this weekend following a three-month hiatus due to the COVID -19 pandemic.
The two-day event, organized by VL International Tennis, will be under strict Covid -19 protocols as only players will be allowed on court.
Dubbed, ‘The Big Six’, the two-round robin of three serves off from 8.30 a.m. on both days and will attract the top six junior boys and girls in the under 18 categories who will be seeded based on national rankings.
The organizer for the event is former three-time Sportsman for the Year 1984, 1991 and 1992, Vernon Lewis.
According to Lewis, “Everyone must follow the island’s protocols and I suggest that those who have vehicles, please bring your child for the exact time of the match and meet them promptly for preparation for their next match or they would have to be in a place at the NTC, where eight or less people follow the proceedings with social distancing”.
On court will be the Independence Day Tennis Classic champion, Joey Angelino. Angelino is also undefeated in the TOGS Tennis Classic 2021. He will lead the charge in the boys’ division which includes, Aaron Gerald, Nathan Francis, Peterson George, Jonas Sylvester and Matthew Paris.
In the Girls category, Independence Day Tennis Classic champion, Alysa Elliott will start as the favorite. Like Angelino, she remains undefeated in the TOGS Tennis Classic which is currently on hold by the organizers from mid-January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationally Alysa is seeded No.3 in the Under 16s, No.2 in the 18s category, while regionally, she is ranked No. 25.
Also, in the lineup is the junior female tennis player for the year 2019, Iyana Paul. Paul holds the eighth spot for Under 14 girls in Central America and the Caribbean combined as determined by the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) regional body, COTECC (Confederaciun de Tenis de Centromerica el Caribe).
Another COTECC seeded player Ranked No.31, Latoya Murray will be in the thick of things as well.
Jorja Mederick, Aviona Edmund and Amara Jn Marie complete the ladies lineup.
For today’s showdown, the players mentioned above will play two singles matches and a doubles match. Competition rules, short sets, normal tiebreaker in early sets, 10-point tiebreaker in the final set.
Tomorrow, the third-place playoff singles and doubles finals will take place. Competition rules: Finals Long sets, no tiebreaker in the final set.
There will be a maximum recovery time of 40 minutes between matches.
In terms of officiating, Lewis said, “There will be at least one roaming umpire going around monitoring the various matches. Players will be requested to call their own lines like they do in college tennis and in earlier round matches in lower ranked pro events so they have to get used to it and still be able to win; while the finals on Sunday, will have sit down umpires”.
At stake is the sportsmanship award. The criteria includes: (1) a player who is able to consistently play at a very high level in good and bad situations; (2) a player who is able to maintain a calm, non offensive demeanor to people in the competition environment even when standing up for their rights and continue to perform in a manner that will produce good results for themselves without falling off the rail; (3) a player who maintains the greatest self-respect and respect for everyone in the competition environment at the same time fighting their hardest to produce a good result; (4) a player who displays the greatest passion for and inspiration in the game whilst consistently doing their all to produce their desired result.
Meanwhile, indiscipline and bad sportsmanship will not be tolerated; a player can be banned or ejected if these occur.
According to Lewis, there is more tennis championships on the horizon. “The Summer Bash will serve off in July; the Creole Bash in October and the Big Christmas Bash in December where the singles and doubles players will get the Big Bash prize,” he said.