Simons run crashes to halt
Gavin Manders and Cayla Cross were crowned champions of the MTM Easter Elite/Senior Bowl at the Fairmont Southampton last night.
Manders defeated Tariq Simons 6-0, 6-2 in the men’s final while Cross beat Victoria Stephens 6-0, 6-1 in the women’s final.
For Manders, his triumph was a bittersweet moment as he has been coaching Simons, 18, for the past eight months along with fellow MTM coach Jovan Jordan-Whitter.
“I was playing against my student, someone I’ve been putting a lot of energy into and I’m proud of him,” said Manders, who takes sole possession of the No 1 spot he was sharing with Neal Towlson.
“At the end of the day, it was a veteran who has been in many finals against someone who was playing in their first final. That played out in the storyline.
“It wasn’t an easy win and it took a lot of focus and determination to get through it. The score doesn’t really reflect the match and what it took to do it.”
Simons, who will join Manders in Bermuda’s team for the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar this summer, said: “I made it in to my first final of a men’s division and I’m fine with the result.
“Obviously, I wanted to win but I have to take my experience into account. I’ll just look to train harder and move on to the next tournament,” said Simons, who defeated Towlson 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
“Gavin is a friend and my coach; he’s almost like a big brother to me, but I have to put those feelings aside when I play him.”
Cross’s victory over Stephens solidified the No 1 spot she seized after winning the Coral Beach and Tennis Club CBC Adult Singles Series this month.
“Cayla is the No 1 female player on the island and it was a great win for her,” Manders said.