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Bermuda Davis Cup team trains with Caribbean ITF development officer

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Expert advice: John Goede, second left, speaking to Bermuda tennis players (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda’s Davis Cup team received a boost when visiting International Tennis Federation development officer for the Caribbean John Goede presided over their first training session on Sunday.

Scott Redmond, Evan Heyliger, James Finnigan, Jack Keyes and Tariq Simons were in attendance at a session held at the Temple of Tennis Courts at Port Royal and were praised by Goede, who was on his annual visit to the island.

“Bermuda is one of the active countries in terms of national events,’’ he said.

“They are playing in the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, the biggest ITF team events in the world.

“They've been doing quite a good job in providing opportunities for players and coaches, to reach their maximum potential and my job is to establish quality so that they can grow better and develop more.”

I had the opportunity to train the preliminary selection of the Davis Cup in preparation for their next event. Not all players were there as two of them, Daniel Phillips and Trey Mallory, are outside of Bermuda at the moment, but it was fantastic to have the captain of the Davis Cup team, Ricky Mallory, and also distinguished player Jenson Bascome.

John Goede, left, Ricky Mallory and Jenson Bascome engaging Bermuda tennis players (Photograph supplied)

“It was great to be on the newly surfaced courts of Port Royal and we had high-intensity training, which was well-received.

“Bermuda has always been a proud representative of the Caribbean and I'm very proud that I was able to provide the first coaching session for the team.”

Goede announced efforts by the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association, to try bring back international events to the island, which will be the first post-Covid, with wo tournaments, one for professionals and another for juniors, being arranged by the BLTA.

Bermuda last hosted an ITF event in October 2019, when juniors from all over the world converged on the island for a J5 competition and the challenge is now up to BLTA to secure sponsorship for the tournaments.

“This year, they [BLTA] have planned international events in the second half of 2024,’’ Goede said.

“You have an international junior event and probably a professional men’s tournament. Bermuda has a history of organising international events and that got postponed by Covid-19, butto have international events you need quality sponsorship for a number of years.”

Michael Wolfe, the BLTA president, has appealed to the community for sponsors in order to make the events a success.

“The BLTA will be hosting the Bermuda International Tennis Federation Junior Open, which has not been hosted since before Covid-19,’’ Wolfe said.

“We will also be looking to host an ITF World Tennis Tour Tournament, which is a professional event where we would expect to see our top male players participate.

“For these events to be successful, the BLTA is actively seeking sponsorship for both events.

“If any organisation is interested in sponsoring either of these events as a title or partial sponsor please contact the BLTA at info@blta.bm.”

John Goede at the WER Joell Stadium (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Goede’s trip to the island coincided with the AXA XL Junior Spring Fling Tournament, which afforded him the opportunity to witness the island’s up-and-coming tennis stars take on each other.

“I was happy to see a lot of children playing, especially happy to see young girls play tennis,” Goede said

“I also saw some of the players I have met in other parts of the world, seeing them now at home, playing national events.

“It’s a positive situation to experience that and to see that things are going well. Players played well and displayed good sportsmanship.”

Goede is impressed with the work being done by the BLTA in creating a pathway for players and coaches to excel in the sport.

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Published April 19, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated April 18, 2024 at 3:12 pm)

Bermuda Davis Cup team trains with Caribbean ITF development officer

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