Pro league will elevate local game – Manders
Gavin Manders is aiming to preserve the future of top-level tennis on the Island with the creation of Bermuda Pro Tennis League.
Having dominated the local tennis scene for the past ten years, Manders, Bermuda’s No 1 player, has always been a prominent playing figure on the court.
However, after the creation of his Manders Tennis Management company last year, which offers tuition at the Fairmont Southampton, the 32-year-old is continuing to play an equally notable role off the court with the introduction of a new league.
Alongside the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association’s Winter, Commercial and Mixed Doubles leagues, Manders’s offering will pit the four teams, Devils Isles, Bermuda Onions, Bermuda Longtails and Gombey Warriors, against one another, in a Davis Cup style format, with the four captains, Manders, Sam Butler, David Thomas and Jovan Jordan-Whitter, selecting their teams in a fantasy draft; the aim being to create a more competitive league.
“This league is aimed at the top players in Bermuda and bringing them together more regularly,” Manders said.
“We wanted to create a league that would replicate other top tournaments and help create more pressurised situations and matches.
“Because you are playing for your team and not only yourself, it means there are more opportunities to be held accountable.
“When you’re only playing three or four tournaments a year, it can be hard to stay motivated and that can manifest in some players.
“However, there will always be something to play for in this league as you’re not just playing for yourself.
“Tennis has been struggling in Bermuda for a while, but I think we’re in a rebuilding process. This should help us move forward and allow the top players to compete in more competitive matches.”
As well as the present top players gaining a lot from the new league, Manders is adamant the future generations will also greatly benefit, as he continues to try and help harness the potential in younger players.
“We hit a lull somewhat in Bermuda and there’s not a lot of players aged from 20 to 30 still playing at a high level,” Manders added.
“This will also give some much needed help to the younger players coming through in the future.
“There needs to be a greater approach across the island to give players more opportunities to play in better matches and help raise the level of tennis.
“This will keep everyone sharp and push everyone to get better as the standard grows. The younger players can only improve by playing in more competitive matches.
“We have to work towards the future because it has to be all about helping the younger guys come through and give them an opportunity to make their mark and play at a higher level.”