PwC intensity looks set to rise

Local tennis fans are enjoying international this week and next as two tournaments are played back to back.

The 2013 PwC Men’s Invitational Championships begins next week, immediately after the PwC Open wraps up on Saturday.

From 29 January at The Cayman Islands Tennis Club the tennis action continues.

This year’s participants could make this the most competitive tournament ever seen in Cayman, even more intense than last year’s PwC tournaments.

The matches begin at 5.30pm on Tuesday and will continue throughout the evening as well as the week.

The finals will be played on Saturday 2 February. All tennis fans are welcome to watch the Island’s most competitive tournament every night free of charge.

This weekend will wrap up the 2013 PwC Cayman Open with the semi-finals on Friday at the Cayman Islands Tennis Club in South Sound and then the finals are on Saturday. The top four men’s open qualifiers will have a chance to participate in the 2013 PwC Men’s Invitational. Matches begin at 5.30pm and entry is free.

The PwC Men’s Invitational Championships offer US$10,000 worth of prize money and is in its seventh staging.

According to tournament director Rob Seward, this could boast the toughest field in the tournament’s history.

“It is fantastic to have a tournament in the last four years that has had a different champion each year,” Seward said.

“Unfortunately, last year’s champ, Haydn Lewis, is unable to come back but the finalist of last year’s tournament, McCoy Malcolm, has returned along with doubles champion Stefanno Ianni. He will also be bringing some new talent to chase after this year’s title.”

Dennis Zivkovic, currently world ranked 295, has teamed up with Italian Ianni this time whose doubles ranking has been as high as 121 in the world. They are also playing in the singles.

Canadian Philip Bester, who has held a world ranking as high as 229, is here to play in the singles and doubles.

A past title holder and former coach here is also competing in the PwC Men’s Invitational. Eduardo Torres is playing singles and doubles with Caymanian Mica Koll.

The men’s singles winner will walk away with US$2,500 and the beaten finalist, US$1,250, while semi-finalists get to take home US$500 each, and US$200 will go to each quarter-finalist.

For the doubles competition, US$2,000 will be awarded to the winning team and US$1,000 to the runners-up.

For Cayman’s youngsters this is a great opportunity to get a feel for men’s tennis in the future. Daniel Reid lost to Richard Harrison and Callum Theaker went down to Paolo Pollini but at least they got some big tournament experience.

Ianni is making his second appearance to Cayman. He has been ranked in the top 300 in the world as a singles player and a No.182 personal best in the world in doubles could possibly be the biggest challenge to the 2013 newcomers to the tournament, Zivkovic and Bester.

Three local Caymanians will also be participating in the tournament this year, Nikhil Jha, Mica Koll and teenager Alex Leonard. All past and current juniors who have participated in the After School Junior programme at The Cayman Islands Tennis Club.

A couple of Jamaican brothers are looking to claim the title and take home US$2,500 for the first place prize. It will not be easy for there will be 13 others competing for the same goal.

McCoy and Marcus Malcolm from Montego Bay are enjoying their fourth visit to the tournament. Last year McCoy lost a tough final to Lewis in the finals.

Seward said: “The club is deeply grateful to PwC for being the main sponsors again.

“This is their seventh year sponsoring the event and without them it would have been impossible to stage such a successful tournament. We are also very excited to have Cayman National for a second year of sponsoring.”