International invasion by top juniors
Around 80 international players from 19 countries will compete for world ranking points at next week’s tenth Bank of Bermuda Foundation ITF Junior Circuit Tournament.
Held at the WER Joell Tennis Stadium from Monday, June 24-28, the competition will also feature 18 of the Island’s top young players, including Tyler Smith, a former Caribbean Under-13 champion.
The Florida-based 16-year-old will be looking to go one better this time around after reaching the semi-finals in the Girls’ Under-18 Division during the previous tournament in 2011.
David Lambert, a founding member of the tournament, believed Smith and her team-mates were more than capable of competing against some of the world’s top youngsters.
“We’ve had success in previous tournaments with Gavin Manders reaching the finals one year and Tyler (Smith) reaching the semi-finals,” said the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) vice-president.
“It’s not all about Tyler, though, we have other good young players like Nick Lines, William Way and Taylor McHarg to name a few. We have more Bermudian players playing in this year’s tournament than in 2011, which is testament to our junior programme.
“Most of the Bermudians who are playing in this tournament have representing the Island overseas in Davis Cup or Fed Cup competitions.
“They will be up against players from Britain, Canada, Japan, Russia and all over the Caribbean it should be a great tournament.”
Lambert believed the tournament was the biggest event in the Bermudian tennis calender and highlighted the importance of the competition in terms of securing college scholarships.
“It’s the biggest junior tournament we have but also the largest tennis event of the year in our calender right now,” said the former BLTA president.
“Most of those Bermudians to have gone on to acquire college scholarships have participated in this tournament.
“It’s all about picking up world rankings points in tennis; if you acquire a point in the ITF Circuit it will definitely assist you securing a college scholarship.
“The first thing the tennis director of that college will say is, ‘nice to see your number one in your nation but what’s your world ranking?’ That will be their very next question.
“In order to acquire world ranking points you have to travel the circuit that’s how you learn to manage your time, manage your resources and pace yourself.”
The tournament’s opening ceremony will be held at 4pm on Sunday at the WER Joell Tennis Stadium.
Matches start each day at 10am with free admission for spectators.