All to play for in this year’s National Open Tennis Championships
Port of Spain, Trinidad, May 16, 2017
The 2017 bmobile National Open Tennis Championships Main Draw served off with a bang recently at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua.
This year’s star-studded line-up of contestants are gaining momentum as the tournament progresses daily. Once again, bmobile has given its commitment to providing local sportsmen and women with an avenue to compete alongside each other as they vie for coveted National honours in varying divisions. In doing so, the main sponsors have strengthened their support towards the Tennis Association’s goals for elevating the standard of the tournament.
Meet Director, Dion Auguste, applauded their efforts and was pleased to play host to the sport’s biggest local tourney at the new state-of-the-art tennis facility. He highlighted some of the welcomed changes to this year’s edition.
“This year is the first time that the women’s winner is getting the same amount of prize money as the Men’s Singles winner. To me, this is very encouraging for the female players,” Auguste explained. “I’m happy that we can use the new facility for this competition. We must ensure that maintenance is always done and the facility is well kept all the time to maintain the highest standards.”
Jermille Danclar, Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TennisTT) secretary and also a Director at the 2017 meet, held in high regard the many benefits of hosting a competition of this calibre at the Racquet Centre for the first time. Originally, previous local and international tournaments were played at other facilities throughout the twin-island. However, none possessed a whopping 12 courts, inclusive of seven outdoor, four indoor and one stadium design.
“The fact that we have indoor courts is a positive,” revealed Danclar. “On Saturday, all of our matches were scheduled to take place outdoors but we got rained out. On a regular day at, let’s say at King George V Park courts (St Clair), that would have been a full day of tennis lost. Luckily, we can now stick to our programme by simply moving the matches indoors. Everyone’s impressed.”
Thus far, it has been smooth sailing at the Racquet Centre for players and officials alike. Of the competing bunch, there are three foreign-based players in the running for the Singles crowns. They are defending Men’s champion Luke De Caires (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Joe Cadogan (Florida Atlantic University) and Breana Stampfli (Florida Gulf Coast University). However, a talented line-up of locally based athletes such as Richard Chung, Vaughn Wilson, Keshan Moonasar, Akiel Duke and Dexter Mahase have also progressed to the quarter final stage.
In the women’s equivalent, Stampfli – even though a multiple national champion who also boasts a wealth of experience- also has her work cut out against the likes of last year’s Singles winner Carlista Mohammed, long-time representative, Shenelle Mohammed, and Abigail Jones among others.
Camille Campbell, TSTT’s VP Marketing, welcomed another year of sponsorship loyalty towards the local tennis fraternity. She was elated to observe the return of some of TT’s best foreign-based players for this particular competition.
“So far, the National Championships have really brought out some of Trinidad and Tobago’s biggest stars in both the male and female categories. Even though the players coming from abroad may have a slight advantage of experience, it’s not going to be easy for them. We have great talent here and this year’s tournament will go straight down to the wire. We at bmobile, are pleased to once again be a part and play an integral role in the successful hosting of the Championships.”
Categories being contested are Men, Women and Veteran Singles, along with Doubles events in all three aforementioned divisions and Mixed Doubles. The finals of the Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles events are tentatively scheduled for Thursday 18, while the meet climaxes on Friday 19 with the trophy matches for the Men’s Singles and Women’s Doubles followed by the awards ceremony.