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Manders hoping to inspire next generation

Tucker's Point Tennis Club are hosting a Junior Developmental Championship for children next month, as they aim to attract more youngsters to the sport.

The man behind the tournament is top singles player Gavin Manders, who is the head tennis pro at Rosewood Tucker's Point, and who was also appointed this year as the Head of Junior Development by the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association.

“We really want to get a lot of these tournaments so that we can grow tennis from the young ages,” Manders said. “Football and cricket are getting them [children] and we want to be able to provide another positive outlet.”

Manders grew up in a cricketing family where his father and uncles all played Cup Match, with cousins Jekon Edness and Tre Manders following in their fathers' footsteps. And though he played different sports such as cricket, football, and even a bit of running at school, it was tennis that grabbed his interest from a young age.

“The truth is cricket was my best sport, I was on the national team for under-13s when I was nine,” said Manders, the son of Arnold, a former Bermuda captain. “It was pre-World Cup before they got a lot of money.

“I was getting trips through tennis and the individual part of it grabbed me, and I have run with it since then, which is why I want to help to grow the sport so that we have more athletes playing tennis. We want to make it broader and to touch more of the community.”

Manders, now 29, is still a top player and wants to expose his own son to tennis, like his father did with him with the various sports.

“I was playing everything I could possibly play, playing different sports from a very young age,” he said.

“We want the football players and cricket players to be able to play tennis, because it helps you as an all-round athlete. We're trying to create more positive outlets for our youth.

“The numbers in tennis are starting to grow, a lot of us who have gone away for tennis have come back and are doing a lot of good work.

“We have Neal Towlson back, Javon Whitter is here, Ashley Brooks just came back to coaching, and Romar Douglas and Jensen Bascome, and we have a great opportunity for so many of us who love the game to build up the numbers.”

Next month's tournament will have three divisions of play, eight and under, 10 and under and 12 and under, with the aim of generating interest and developing the raw talent in the sport. Ultimately the sport benefits Island-wide, said Manders

“Tennis has finally caught up in that there are different size rackets, different types of balls for different ages and children aren't using the same type of balls that adults are using,” Manders said.

“We are trying to make it more fun so they see it as something they want to do, even if it is just recreationally.

“I've been officially appointed junior development officer and we're really trying to grow the numbers and obviously I'm also the head pro at Tucker's Point.”

Parents interested in more information on the tournament can call the pro shop at 298-6960 or contact gavinmanders@rosewoodhotels.com

Looking to the future: Manders hopes to attract the next generation of players to the game (File photograph by Nicola Muirhead)

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Published December 12, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 11, 2015 at 9:59 pm)

Manders hoping to inspire next generation

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