Manders focused on guiding next generation
For the majority of sports people, dominating your field as the top-ranked competitor for a ten-year period would be a moment to savour.
However, for Bermuda’s top tennis player Gavin Manders, that is far from the case, as despite being ranked the island’s No 1 player for the tenth year out of the past 11, he is already setting his sights on helping the next generation to fulfil their potential and surpass his achievements on the courts.
“Obviously at this stage of my career, to still have that No 1 spot is incredibly special and I feel blessed,” Manders said.
“However, the more important thing for me is to show the next generation what to do and how to be better than I have. I love the fact I’ve been able to stay at the top of my game for so long but it is no longer my main focus.
“What I have achieved on the court is great but I’d be happier to leave a more lasting legacy behind in the future generations that I can help bring through to succeed. If I can’t do that then I feel as if I’ve failed.
“I’m 32 years old now and it’s about time we had those next generations breaking through and make an impact, not only locally but on the international scene as well.”
Having dominated the local tennis scene for the past ten years, Manders has always been a prominent playing figure on the court. However, through the creation of his Manders Tennis Management company last year, which offers tuition at the Fairmont Southampton, he is continuing to play an equally notable role off the court.
Helping the next generation of players succeed is what fuels Manders passion nowadays, with the likes of Tariq Simmons, Scott Redmond and Daniel Phillips making promising progression on the court domestically and internationally.
While it is more likely the likes of Sam Butler, David Thomas, Jovan Jordan-Whitter and Jenson Bascome will challenge Manders’s supremacy in the immediate years to follow, it is the younger stars that he is keeping his attention on.
“It would be refreshing to see anyone come along and go above me in the rankings. If someone could do that, it would be great,” he added.
“However, I’d love for one of the younger players to come along and take my crown at some point.”
“Having the younger players come through might push me harder to keep going but I’d rather focus on helping to mould that next generation of players.
“Trey Mallory broke my record as the youngest Bermudian Davis Cup player and to be there assisting him is what it is all about for me.
“We don’t have a huge crop of players because we’re a small island but the future is certainly bright from my point of view.”
Away from tennis it has been a difficult year for Manders with the passing of his mother. However, it is her memory that continues to inspire him to keep guiding others and leave a lasting legacy.
“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster year having lost my mum but I guess being ranked as No 1 again is a gift to her,” he said.
“My mum always told me that helping others was always more rewarding, and that is something I am trying to pass on to the kids to see and understand.”
“I’ll continue to push for her and try and leave a lasting legacy for this country.
“I want to keep using my experience to help the next generation push on to fulfil their potential and achieve something great.
“I want to show them what I’ve gone through so they can learn and be better than me.”