The inaugural Voyager Open concluded last Thursday, bringing an end to two weeks of revitalizing tennis at the Kenneth ‘Wriggler’ King Multipurpose Center. The Mens Final saw Akeem Gustave finally break through a six match losing streak to Sirsean Arlain to emerge victorious. Unwilling to relinquish his stranglehold on Gustave, Arlain rallied to push it to a tiebreaker in the second set. However, Gustave edged him out to win in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Gustave was visibly excited after the match and almost found himself at a loss for words. “After losing to Sirsean six times in a row in the past, it’s finally good to have one win over him, so right now the words can’t come out honestly, but I feel great.”
He continued his winning ways by claiming the Mens Doubles title with Jervone Antoine, defeating the pair of Omodelle Phillips and Zy Richards in a three set thriller.
On the women’s side Surabhi Gupta won the Women’s title in a rain delay shortened match against Julia D’Auvergne. Since she was scheduled to compete in an International Tennis Federation tournament the next day, D’Auvergne was unable to complete the match, essentially handing the title to Gupta.
Gupta also captured the Womens Doubles title alongside Medhini Urs, defeating Solange Stanislas and Ellen George.
The event marked the first time a tennis tournament had been held at the location, popularly known as the ‘Gardens’, in close to forty years.
Tournament Director, Arlain, expounded on the significance of bringing tennis back to the area.
“This place used to be the mecca of tennis, way back. This is where all the big tournaments took place. I think Vincent Devaux, Johnny Easter, going all the way back to Jane Duboulay, Una Francis. Going back all those years. They all played here. Regional and international events were here, so it has a very rich history of sports and a very rich history of tennis”, he explained.
Arlain also expressed his satisfaction with the overall production and his experience with being at the helm for the first time.
“It was great in terms of what we were able to establish and the standards that we set for here. To have umpires and lines people, to have full coverage of some of our matches, to have prize money and sponsors come in, it’s been really good”, he said.
He also praised his colleagues at Tiger Tennis for helping to ensure operations ran smoothly.
“I wish I could say that it was challenging, that it was so tough to put it together but we have such a good group of guys here that they made it a lot easier. It was still a lot of work but I can’t imagine what it would be like with no help”, he surmised.
Arlain lauded the sponsors Voyager, BLU Electronics, Lance Snacks (agents Renwick and Company), and The Voice Publishing company for coming on board and supporting the venture.
Sarah Yarde, Diana Charles, and Misha Mark were also singled out for their accomplishments. All three ladies are from the club’s Ladies Night program.
“It was great to see them out there in competition and really going at it”, he said of his students.
Voyager has pledged to make this an annual event and Arlain is already looking ahead. “Tennis is really big down here. We kind of need more courts,” he laughed. “It’s really flourished.”