Junior tennis tourney set for return
Bermuda’s biggest junior tennis event is back after a one-year absence.
Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) president Coleridge Place today announced that the Bank of Bermuda Foundation ITF Junior Circuit Tournament will take place this year.
The tournament, involving junior players between the ages of 12 and 18, will be held at WER Joell Stadium from June 24-30.
Players aged 14 and under will play in a round robin format while the remaining age groups will play the open format.
The popular event was cancelled last year after the BLTA failed to secure accommodation for overseas players before the ITF’s deadline.
Speaking at a brief press conference, BLTA president Place told reporters: “It’s nice to have the ITF International Tournament back in Bermuda. It’s a very good tournament and we are very proud of our title sponsor Bank of Bermuda Foundation. They have done a tremendous job.”
Place also thanked Government for its continued support of local tennis.
“We are very proud of Bermuda Government for sponsoring the tennis stadium and housing at Warwick Camp,” he said. “This is a great event and a gateway through our association so we can get our players and coaches involved in international competition and we just like to thank the sponsors, players and volunteers that have made this happen.”
Bank of Bermuda Foundation chairman David Lang added: “The Bank of Bermuda Foundation is very happy to partner again with the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association. You have a terrific management team and a terrific team of volunteers and the thanks really goes to them. They are well organised and they turn out when you need them to so well done for running a first class tournament and Bank of Bermuda Foundation look forward to many more years of partnership.”
The ITF have granted the BLTA several wild cards for the tournament that will be “rewarded” to those local players who meet the criteria to represent Bermuda in the upcoming tournament.
Overseas players will qualify via their world ranking points while the BLTA are leaning towards staging trials to determine which players represent Bermuda in the lead up to June’s tournament.
BLTA president Place said “to date we have no juniors that have been awarded ranking points to qualify for the tournament so entries will probably be through wild cards”.
Tournament co-founder and past BLTA president David Lambert said the event is a vital tool in the development of local tennis.
“This Bank of Bermuda Foundation Tournament offers our players the opportunity to participate in two disciplines: the open which embraces the 15 year old up to 18 years and the 14 and under which allows the 12 years up to 14 to participate in this tournament which for many is their first opportunity to play in international competition,” he said. “Through this exposure many lessons are learned and many contacts and friends are made. It’s a very important tournament for the development of tennis in Bermuda.”
In the past the tournament has attracted players and their families from many countries which in turn bolsters the local economy and promotes Bermuda as a sports tourism destination.
“It’s all part of not just the sport, but also the tourism factor for Bermuda,” Lambert said. “This is a large part of what we call sports tourism where, not just the players, but the families and coaches come to Bermuda and in many instances return.”