I wish to endorse the remarks of MLA Osbourne Bodden regarding the lack of tennis court facilities available to the public.
This is a point I made several years ago to the government of the day.
Moreover, on more than one occasion I met with government in an attempt to introduce tennis as a principal sport in the schools’ physical activity programmes.
It was not to be.
However the local tennis federation was able to assist financially with the John Gray High School and also to arrange to use the tennis courts at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club.
The idea of public courts has been previously mooted by some luminaries such as George Ebanks, no mean player in his day, and Colin Panton.
The idea on the surface is a good one until you consider maintenance and accessibility.
Assuming a hard surface only the net will require looking after. A bigger problem is usage. Who plays and when? Does one book and who keeps the book? These are not insurmountable problems but ones that require careful consideration.
The solution is to build the tennis courts at the schools or on adjoining property. In that way suitably employed persons at these schools can also deal be responsible for the courts.
Only after the school day finishes would it be slightly problematical but with suitable security officers employed perhaps they could have a dual role to play. An alternative location in George Town should sufficient land be available, would be the Truman Bodden Sports Centre.
I strongly endorse the building of such facilities and suggest that the first be in Bodden Town as at least there are some facilities in George Town. No doubt George Ebanks would be pleased to advise on this further it, his being in the district.
Perhaps the Brac should be considered next where I am sure Kenny Ryan, another well known tennis player would be happy to assist in locating suitable land.
Tennis has never been in the forefront of sports played in the Cayman Islands largely because of a lack of facilities particularly in the outlying districts. It is also a sport that has been traditionally thought as being out of reach of the man in the street because of cost.
Whilst there are over 150 tennis courts on the island enjoyed by condominium owners and hotel guests with a sprinkling of private courts of the rich and famous, public facilities would enable those who are not a member of the local club to develop their skills and perhaps to represent their country in the Island Games.
Chris Johnson– Past president Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands, Past president Cayman Islands Tennis Club