The presence of tennis stars at the Ritz-Carlton last month has only spurred on Cayman’s efforts in the sport. The latest endeavour targets tennis’ future: namely its youth.
This week the Cayman Islands Tennis Club is hosting clinics and an Under-10 junior tournament on Grand Cayman. The clinic will be held at Red Bay Primary school on Thursday 1-2pm while the competition takes place on Saturday 8-11am. Another camp was held this Monday at Savannah Primary. The goal of the initiatives is to teach the basic skills of the sport and maintain a young fan-base for the discipline. Tennis Club manager Rob Seward spoke about this week’s activities.
“On Thursday at 1pm we will be going to teach at Red Bay Primary,” Seward said. “The three pros at the tennis club (Adam Bayley, Dale Avery and I) have teamed up with the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands to help promote the game of tennis. We’re reaching out to the local kids of Grand Cayman by going out and introducing the game of tennis to the children of Red Bay Primary. We will be bringing out racquets, tennis balls and a tennis net to the school and teaching the kids some basic drills during their Physical Education classes.
“The purpose for going out to the public schools is to try teach the kids that tennis is a fun sport and is fairly accessible for them. We targeted the local and public school children because most of them do not know that the tennis club exists and is available for them to become members at a very reasonable cost for juniors (it is currently $50 a year for junior membership).”
News of the camp comes several weeks after the annual The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships competition. Sponsored by The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Dragon Bay, Grand Cayman and Cayman Financial Review the tournament saw notable talents like Jimmy Arias, Mikael Pernfors and Jim Courier. This year’s winner was Stefan Edberg of Sweden who beat Russia’ Marat Safin in three sets.
Interestingly some of the pros such as Courier and Arias hosted clinics at locales like the Ritz-Carlton, Dragon Bay and the Tennis Club leading up to the championship. Hundreds of kids turned out, most of whom were from public schools based in districts like George Town, Savannah and East End.
Seward states that Saturday’s contest is meant to benefit junior players and provide a good precursor for the rule changes that take effect in a little over a year.
“On Saturday the tennis club will be hosting a tournament for the junior program players that are under 10. A lot of the juniors come to participate in the junior program and so this tournament is available to offer the kids a chance to compete against each other instead of just doing the lessons. The tennis federation will be changing the rules of tennis in 2012 where kids under age 10 will be playing on smaller courts as well as using different tennis balls so we are just trying to get a jump start with the children.”