Despite the fact St Lucia did not win a singles title in the boys or girls division at the recently concluded ITF Junior Coca-Cola Tennis Tournament, one official feels that could change in the next few years.
Manager of the National Tennis Centre, Ricardo Bowe feels brighter days are ahead for our young tennis players.
In a recent interview he said: “It was a very good tournament especially for our up and coming players. In the 10’s, 12’s and 14 age groups we saw some really talented players coming through. These are the players who have really benefitted from the number of programs and tournaments we’ve had. They are the ones we are looking at to come through within the next couple of years.”
Bowe singled out players like Jean Phillip Murray who made the 14’s singles final and paired up with Cordell Williams Jr to win the doubles championship. He also mentioned Nathan Francis who got to the 12’s singles final and Max Williams who also advanced to the 10’s singles final.
St Lucia however did not give a fair account of themselves in the main draw which is the 18 and Under division. Players who compete in the 14 years of age category next have to leap frog into the 18 and Under category which is quite a dilemma.
“It is a humongous jump,” said Bowe. “I think sometimes it is too much for the players because you can go from winning in 14’s, to spending the next two years losing in the first round of the 18 and Under division.
Jean Thirouin (United States) won the Boy’s 18 and Under Main Draw Singles title. In the final he defeated Myles Schalet (USA) 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Commenting on the match Thiroun said: “After a long week I was really tired and he [Schalet] was playing good. I just had to try and stay in the match. The first set he was up 4-1. I was just trying to stay in the match and not let him get away with it. Once I won the first set 7-6, I knew there was only one more set to go and it gave me a bit more energy for the second set which I won.”
Simone Pratt (Bahamas) won the Girls 18 and Under Main Draw singles title. In the final she made quick work of Breana Stampfli (Trinidad & Tobago) 6-1, 6-1.
Pratt who was the number one seed said “it was a great match. I played very solid, played my game and came out with a win.”
Commenting on the tournament she said: “It is a good level of competition. There are people from all around the world here, who I have never seen or played before. I was really happy to be here for a second time after losing in the finals two years ago.
Following are the winners and runners up in the various age categories: Boys Under 18 Main Draw: Winner, Jean Thirouin (USA); Runner up, Myles Schalet (USA). Girls Under-18 Main Draw: Simone Pratt (Bahamas); Runner up, Breana Stampfli.
Under-14 Boy’s Singles Main Draw: Ukpioronfo Ikolo; Runner up, Jean Phillip Murray. Under 14 Girls Singles Main Draw: Sierra Donaldson; Runner up Candace Cook.
Under 14 Boys Doubles: Jean Phillipe Murray (St Lucia)/Cordell William (Antigua). Runners up, Ukpironfo Ikolo (Grenada)/Mickel Alexander (Grenada).
Under 14 Girls Doubles: Benn Gabrielle/Amerila Benn. Runners up, Candace Cook (Trinidad & Tobago)/Anya King (Trinidad & Tobago).