Manders full of praise for final display
Bermuda’s Under-14 squad claimed another major scalp to end the International Tennis Federation World Junior tournament on a high note in El Salvador yesterday.
The island’s three-member squad of Ricky Mallory Jr, Benjamin Jones and Nicholas Cooper came from behind to beat seventh seeds Jamaica 2-1 in the final of the bottom draw to finish ninth among the sixteen participating countries.
Bermuda were forced to chase the tie after Jones, playing in the No 2 slot, went down 6-3, 6-0 against Domani Cain in the opening singles match on the hard surface at the Federación Salvadorena de Tenis.
With their backs against the wall, Bermuda demonstrated great resolve to bounce back and even the tie at 1-1 after Mallory, playing in the No 1 slot, got past John Azar 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 to set up a winner-takes-all doubles match.
With the tie hanging in the balance, Mallory and Cooper proved equal to the task, keeping it together when it mattered most to prevail against Cain and Azar 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the tie.
“I am very proud of Trey [Mallory] and Nicholas as they truly represented Bermuda at the highest level of play and showed great fight under pressure,” Gavin Manders, the Bermuda coach, said.
Michael Wolfe, the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association president, also hailed the island’s impressive victory over Jamaica — Bermuda’s fourth straight in as many days and second against a seeded country after upsetting fifth-seeded Panama the day before.
“Today’s win over Jamaica was a very good win for the team,” he said. “Despite the early losses in the tournament coach Manders has been able to keep the team focused and playing hard.
“A win like this certainly shows the character of the team and allows them to finish the tournament on a high note with four straight match wins. More importantly, it helps build their confidence and hopefully acts as a building block in the process of them becoming great tennis players. They have represented Bermuda and themselves very well.”
Ricky Mallory Sr, the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association’s tennis director, was delighted to see the team reap the rewards for all of the hard work they put into their preparations for the tournament.
“I am over the moon with the team’s result against Jamaica in the bottom draw final,” he said. “As the tennis director you can see all the hard work that the players and coaches have put in finally pay off.
“The BLTA has put in certain programmes in place which are used towards the total development of a player. These programmes over time will definitely elevate the level of tennis in Bermuda and help our teams representing Bermuda on the international stage.”
Bermuda’s only losses were against second seeds The Bahamas and eighth seeds Nicaragua, which was decided on a super tiebreaker in the deciding doubles match.
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