Clark: pair of tennis events can restore past prestige
Hazel Clark, Bermuda Tourism Authority director of sports, believes the staging of two prestigious United States Tennis Association National Championships next year can help restore the sport's past prestige in Bermuda.
The three-times US Olympian was in attendance at the Coral Beach and Tennis Club for the announcement that the island will host two USTA National Category II tournaments with the return of the Bermuda Breeze Tennis Championships, for a second year, in April, and the introduction of the inaugural Bermuda Family Championships in November.
The Coral Beach and Tennis Club, which has a long tradition of hosting elite tournaments such as XL Tennis Open, is aiming to spearhead the resurgence of the sport once again.
And Clark believes next year's events will help put Bermuda firmly back on the map as a sporting destination.
“The overriding goal for me is to fill the sporting calender and to look for opportunities to fill it with events that we know will allow Bermuda to be successful,” Clark said.
“Tennis is one of those sports, we know there are opportunities to host events and we can all win as a whole through sport.
“Tennis is a popular past time for locals and visitors in Bermuda and so naturally the Bermuda Tourism Authority is happy to invest in the Bermuda Breeze Tournament.
“The team at Coral beach expertly delivered the inaugural event and we expect the 2019 tennis tournaments to take the sport to the next level.
“We want to restore the prestige of tennis on the island and we all know the importance of sport and how much it can enrich peoples lives.
“Sport is an amazing vehicle to showcase Bermuda. It crosses a lot of different demographics and will help get a lot of different people here and see what Bermuda has to offer, that is the key.”
The Bermuda Family Championships is a doubles tournament designed especially for families with 11 different categories to compete in, while the Bermuda Breeze Championships is designed for players over the age of 40, playing in five age groups including singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
“We are honoured to partner with the USTA and BTA to deliver these two exciting tournaments,” said Patrick Singleton, the Coral Beach Club sports director.
“We believe these tennis events will play an important role in further developing sports tourism in Bermuda in 2019.”
Lamar Cross, a coach at the Coral Beach and Tennis Club, is hopeful that staging such events will help get more people involved with the sport.
“The main aim for us is to inspire people to get involved and promote the great sport of tennis,” he said. “Anybody can get involved with tennis and to have tournaments like is, is a great way to inspire the people of Bermuda, of all ages to get playing and keeping fit,” he said.
“If the young people see their grandparents playing tennis in an event such as the Bermuda Breeze Tournament it can inspire them to get involved and they can all play together, which is amazing. Tennis on the island is definitely heading in the right direction and events like this will help promote the sport and get it back to where it should be.”
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