Some of Cayman’s top junior tennis players recently competed in two tournaments in Jamaica.
The Cayman Islands Tennis Club’s director of tennis Rob Seward took the players to compete in the Blue Mountain Caribbean Junior Tennis Championships, as well as the International Tennis Federation Junior tournament in Kingston.
“The outcome and results were fantastic and very positive for the future of junior tennis in the Cayman Islands,” Seward said.
The Blue Mountain Championships was held at the Liguenea Club. In the team event, the Cayman juniors placed second, losing to Jamaica in the finals.
Marc and Daniel Reid and Callum Theaker finished second by beating Grenada, but losing to the Jamaicans in a close battle in the finals. St. Lucia was the other team in the group.
The team event was set up like a Davis Cup style were there were two singles matches and then the one doubles match to possibly decide the winner.
In the Blue Mountain Championship individual tournament, the Cayman juniors also had some good results.
Jade Wilkinson, the only Cayman female player, placed second in the girls 16 and under, losing to Jamaica’s Jenna Harrison in the finals in a long, tough match.
Wilkinson is only 12, but she played in two events and did well competing against the older girls.
Marc Reid, in the under 18s, lost to Andrew Bicknell in the semifinals in a close three-set match that ended in a tie-breaker in the third set. Jamaica’s Bicknell was the eventual champion.
Daniel Reid in the under 16s, lost to eventual winner Blaise Bicknell of Jamaica in the semifinals.
Daniel had a great quarterfinal match, beating the No. 3 seed Dwain Hurmal of Jamaica.
Callum Theaker, who played in the 14 and under division, was also successful, defeating a more experienced player from Jamaica, Cliff Dwyer, in a tough three-set match in the quarterfinals before losing to Nicholas Gore of Jamaica in the semis.
Matthew Barnett, who also played in the 14 and under division, faced No. 1 seed Myles Harrison in the first round and lost. But he had a good match and learned from the experience.
Coach Seward said: “It was another great tournament for our juniors to play against some of their peers in an overseas tournament.
“Our kids played their hearts out and competed very well and I am very proud of their results.
“It was more fun this year being able to bring five juniors from the club and fantastic that we were able to compete in the team event.”
In the International Tennis Federation’s Junior Championship tournament, four of Cayman’s juniors competed.
Marc and Daniel Reid tried to qualify for the main draw of 32 in the 18 and under division.
Marc played Matthew Foster-Estwick of Barbados and lost in two close sets while his brother had to face a Jamaican, Oshane Wright, who won with great service games and a lot of winners by 6-3, 6-4.
Barnett and Theaker played at the University of West Indies site. In the 14 and under division a player qualified by winning two out of three matches in a round robin format.
Barnett beat Mario Campbell of Jamaica, but then had two tough opponents in Harrison and later the eventual winner from Costa Rica.
Theaker was successful in the qualifier and did better than expected. He went 2-1 in his section beating a tough player from Estonia in a close three-set match, allowing him to qualify for the main draw of the ITF Championships.
In the main draw, Theaker grabbed a brilliant first round victory beating Akeel Henry of Jamaica 6-0, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, he had to face No. 2 seed Manual De Mendiola of Costa Rica.
Theaker lost to the more experienced player, but was competitive bringing many games going to deuce.
De Mendiola, who also defeated Barnett, eventually won the under 14 division, beating Blaise Bicknell.
Seward said: “It was a fantastic two weeks of tennis for our juniors and it is very exciting that the Cayman Islands Tennis Club is now able to have the juniors can go and compete in the overseas tournaments and be successful.
“The two other pros at the club with me, Adam Bayley and Dale Avery are very pleased with the past year and the future for our juniors.
“We have seen a lot of improvement and we hope that it continues because these are the types of tournaments that our kids need to compete in as well as the ones in the US to improve.”