Tournament to honour memory of Bean
Gavin Manders spoke of the importance of preserving the memory of former youth tennis player Craig Bean by hosting a tournament in his memory.
Manders Tennis Management will be hosting the Craig Bean Memorial Championships at the Fairmont Southampton, starting on Friday, with Manders proud to be given the opportunity to remember someone particularly important to him. Bean was the top junior player on the island when he died at the age of 18 in a road accident in 2000.
“Hosting the tournament is really special for us,” said Manders. “Craig is someone I looked up to and so hopefully a big crowd come out and help us celebrate something that transcends just the sport.
“It is an opportunity for us to show the younger generations how much he meant to all of us and tell the story of his life as we remember it.
“He was about four years ahead of me, but I used to watch him and look up to him.
“He had such an amazing energy and personality about him; he had this energy that was just contagious.
“He played a really important role for me and was an integral reason for me playing.
“He was a massive loss for Bermuda at the time because he was No 1 in his age group. I would have loved to see where he reached in his career.
“We are determined to do all we can to preserve his legacy and remember him in the best possible way in which we can.
“His name has lived on and I'm now at an age now to properly articulate just what he meant to me. It feels like the right time to honour him with a tournament like this.”
Seeing such a tournament being held also brings a great sense of fulfilment to Craig's father Richard, who reflected on his pride at being able to see his son's memory living on in a way to help inspire the next generation of Bermudian players.
“To see Gavin host a tournament like this is lovely and we as a family really appreciate it,” said Bean, a former president of Port Royal Tennis Club.
“I know Gavin has spoken about looking up to Craig and we feel really honoured.
“At the time Craig was playing there was a really nice crop of Bermudian players and it's nice to see the sport continuing to grow on island. We'll definitely be going down to watch the matches take place.
“It will great to see some of the young players follow in his footsteps and it's lovely to know his legacy is living on. Tennis was always his main sport and to see him still being able to be an inspiration to others makes us really proud.
“Sometimes it still feels like yesterday that we lost Craig but it makes us really proud to have something like this to remember him by.”
Meanwhile, Manders is hoping that the championships can build on the momentum of the success of recent tournaments that have proved a welcome return to the courts following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully we can build on the momentum of the tournaments that we have held recently and have another really good tournament,” said Manders, who has hosted a number of events such as the The MTM Covid Championships, MTM Covid Open, MTM Doubles Series and most recently the Over and Under event.
“With everything that has happened in recent months it is the perfect time to host events and give people the chance to come out and enjoy some live sport again.”