Revitalised Cross determined to reclaim her relinquished crown
Cayla Cross is determined to regain her place at the top of the Bermuda female tennis rankings after winning The Coral Beach and Tennis Club CBC Adult Singles Series on Saturday.
The former national No 1, took her first steps to reclaiming her crown after beating Charmaine Thomas in the Women’s Open Single final 6-2, 6-0, to gain valuable ranking points from the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association sanctioned event.
Having tasted success again, Cross, who endured a difficult time following the passing of her father and coach Howard Cross in 2016, has sent out a warning to her rivals after gaining a renewed passion for the sport.
“It felt great to be back out there again on court,” said the 27 year-old, who spent four years at North Carolina A&T University on a tennis scholarship.
“After my father passed away it didn’t feel right to be playing but last year I decided to return and get back to playing.
“That purpose to play has returned, I feel like I have gained a whole new passion for the sport. Where I used to play because I had to, I’m now playing because I want to.
“The whole time I felt great and this should definitely put me back up in the rankings.
“I want to take back my No 1 spot, that’s definitely the aim. This is just the first step in achieving that, the first tournament, I’ll be coming for every tournament and every title.”
As well as making her mark on the court once again, Cross is as determined to make a greater contribution off of it, with a desire to grow the participation in women’s tennis back to where it once was on island.
For Cross, who coaches full time as the professional at The Reefs resort in Southampton, is hopeful she can act as inspiration to help the younger generations get back into the sport.
“The women’s game has been struggling for a while now, unfortunately,” added Cross, who coaches under the name Cross Court Tennis Academy Bermuda.
“The atmosphere at Coral Beach is fantastic and the set up is brilliant, but the women’s side of the competition could definitely be better.
“We’ve got to the point where the same people are playing each other all of the time, so hopefully we can rebuild it to where it used to be.
“As a junior, I wanted to pave the way and be an inspiration and now as a coach I feel the same way.
“I’m trying to be an inspiration again to show young girls I coach that I’m still playing and hopefully that will encourage even more to get involved because the sports need it.”
Meanwhile, in the Men’s Consolation final, David Leader rallied from a set down to eventually prevail against Wilfred Gonsalves, 3-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Men’s Open Finals, featuring Neal Towlson and Sam Butler, will take place on Sunday, starting at 1pm.