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Encouraging signs for fit-again Manders

Gavin Manders, who was badly injured in a road accident last December, took his first step on the road to recovery with an encouraging performance in the Alex Howard’s Men’s and Women’s Open Championship last week.

The tournament, which was held at the Manchester Athletic Club in Manchester, Massachusetts, saw Bermuda’s number one tennis player compete in both singles and doubles.

His doubles partner was Jovan Whitter who is a former Davis Cup player for Bermuda and is returning to local shores to compete for a spot in this year’s Cup team.

“It’s been a long road to recovery and I'm still not where I want to be physically because of the accident, but I've been playing a lot of tennis and this is a great opportunity for me to play against players that are at the Davis Cup level I will see this summer.

“I feel blessed just to be able to get back out there and compete, and I'm feeling pretty good about my game under the circumstances. I’m still struggling with my movement because of the accident but my strokes are on point right now and I look forward to putting them on display again this weekend at the MAC.

In singles action, the fourth ranked Manders beat Bartholomew Paranese 6-4, 6-3, before knocking out Thomas Suchodolski 6-3, 6-2 in the round of 16.

He then defeated fifth ranked Edward Bourchier 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-finals before forfeiting to number one seed Marcus Fugate, deciding not to risk further injury.

In the doubles, Manders and Whitter beat Austin Bendetson and Christopher Toner 7-5, 6-4 in the round of 16 before forfeiting in the quarters to number one seeds Louis Desmarteaux and Fugate.

Manders lost half of his baby toe, fractured another toe and also damaged ligaments in his right shoulder in the accident.

While he remains hopeful of making a full recovery to be able to represent Bermuda during this year’s Davis Cup and Island Games, his recent match practice should put him in good stead as events come thick and fast this summer.

“I was a little bit nervous with this being my first tournament back from the accident, but I've been playing in a Men's A league out here for the last three weeks so I have some match play under my belt.

“The league is like the Davis Cup format where I play singles and go right back out for doubles so it’s been great training for Davis Cup.

“Everything aside, I'm just ready to get out there and battle. All I can really promise is that I will leave it all on the court and that it is a step in the right direction to be ready to represent Bermuda this summer for Davis Cup in Bolivia and the Island Games on home soil.

“I felt that I put in some pretty good performances, making it to the semi-finals in the singles and it was a 6-4 draw, as well as the quarter-finals of doubles.

“I had to pull out and didn't get to play my semi-final match though, I just couldn't afford to risk injury with my foot but it was a great showing for my first tournament back from the accident.

“Now I have to make sure to work my foot back into that type of intensity and level of movement.”

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Published May 08, 2013 at 8:22 pm (Updated May 08, 2013 at 8:21 pm)

Encouraging signs for fit-again Manders

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