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Manders backs team for podium

Island Games tennis team: Gavin Manders, Jack Keyes, David Thomas, Chris Weekes. (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

The Bermuda men’s tennis team is primed to take home some medals in the NatWest Island Games.

Gavin Manders, David Thomas, Chris Weeks and Jack Keyes make up the squad travelling to Jersey this week for the biennial competition.

Bermuda’s team have medalled in every Island Games they have been to, winning bronze two years ago, with the squad looking to continue that tradition without the support of a women’s team that is competing in the Fed Cup in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

“Every time we go to the Island Games we expect to bring back medals. Anything less would be a disappointment for us,” said Manders, Bermuda’s No 1 player.

“This is the biggest competition and the highest level that they’ve had in the ten years we’ve gone, so we’re going to have to play at a high standard.”

The 29-year-old is seeded thirteenth individually and sixth in the double’s category, with Thomas, seeded fourteenth individually.

“We didn’t really get the seedings we wanted, but that’s just how it goes. We’re just going to go out there and prove that they were wrong,” Manders said.

Thomas echoed his team-mate’s sentiments, adding: “The Island Games is always a pretty special event for us. It’s an even playing field.

“We have a pretty tough draw but if we can get past Guernsey we have a good chance of medalling in the [team] event.”

The team was not scheduled to go to the Games, but a need for competition before the Davis Cup and the financial support of Washington Properties changed their plans.

“[The Davis Cup] is exactly the reason we’re going,” Manders said. “This wasn’t paid for by the BLTA, we weren’t going to send a team, but me and David sat down together and talked about how we needed to experience a higher level of competition before we went to Davis Cup.

Bermuda men’s head to Panama City, Panama, next month to compete in group three of the Davis Cup. They will face Bahamas, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago in the Americas Zone group.

n Bermuda made a losing start to their Fed Cup round-robin competition, losing 3-0 to Guatemala yesterday. Cayla Cross was defeated 6-0, 6-0 by Daniela Schippers, while Jacklyn Lambert lost to Kirsten-Andrea Weeden 6-2, 6-2. In the doubles, Lambert and Zaire Simmons lost to Melissa Morales and Camilia Ramazzini 6-0, 6-0.