Ugly shots but play was pretty hot

The Cayman Islands Tennis Club hosted its second annual The Good, The Bad and The Ugly men’s invitation doubles tournament last week and it certainly lived up to its title.  

The field featured some of the best local doubles players. Eight couples were divided into two groups where each group played a round robin at the club in South Sound.  

In the end, a knockout decided the winner. Tennis club coach Dale Avery came out tops with one of the premier club players, Mike Fullerton.  

An invitation was made to Cayman Islands Tennis Federation member Chris Van de Water and he finished runner-up with his partner Adam Bayley, another club coach and chief organizer.  

A special guest appearance was made to Jamaican-born, Canadian resident, Karl Hale, the head racquets professional at the celebrated Donalda Club in Toronto.  

In 2006, Hale became tournament director of The Rogers Cup in Toronto, which is one of the top Association of Tennis Professionals men’s tournaments on the calendar.  

Hale has been ranked No. 1 in the world on the International Tennis Federation over-40 rankings.  

Hale’s brother Robert was in another pairing, with Paolo Polloni. The other pairings were Kurt Hydes with Richard Harrison, Eamon Wilson with Mike Bonikowski, club coach Rob Seward with Andrew Finlason and Jeff Cummber with Dan Altneu.  

Bayley said the afternoon event in the blazing heat was a success and the tennis was at a really high level, although a few ugly shots were evident as the sun hit weary eyes.  

“The tournament was created because I want to get more people out playing.” Bayley said.  

“A lot of the guys, who are good players, find it hard to find time for competition. They have other commitments like seeing to their families and work.  

“It is a shame because there are plenty of good players out there. I also love organizing events like this. Seeing people out on the court, appreciating it and loving the social aspect, it’s very fulfilling for me.  

“Karl Hale with his background and the tennis club coaches were the obvious favorites. But doubles is a very different game, so the best singles player would not necessarily be the better doubles player. It’s all down to experience and how the team gels together.”  

The winning pair are both all-round sportsmen. Avery is in training for his first Ironman in South Africa next year, so he is getting in the best shape of his life.  

“It probably won’t expand to more than 16 players,” Bayley said. “I like to keep it small and more of an invitational event. I am planning more little ones like this during the year but with different themes and formats.” 

Avery was elated and relieved at winning. He said: “We had some tough matches in the round robin stage.  

“Mike Bonikowski, who won it last year, played with Eamon Wilson, the current club champion. They were pretty tough and it was close.  

“We played Adam and Chris in the final and got off to a good lead but they managed to come back and tie the match before we eventually took it.  

“We knew we had a chance of winning, as did many other teams. We just stuck to the basics and it worked out for us.”  

Avery added that he was glad not to let his partner down. “I didn’t drop serve the whole day and my returns were steady. I haven’t been playing a lot aside from coaching because I’ve been doing quite a bit of training for the Cayman triathlon in November and the half marathon in December so my game has taken a bit of a back seat to that.  

“I’m also doing the Mercuryman Half Iron distance in East End in January and then the South Africa Ironman in April. I have a lot of work to do to get ready for that.”  

Avery said he is not sure what next year’s pairing system will be, but if they get a choice, he is sure they will want to team up again to defend it.  

“It’s a fun event and well organized by Adam, who treats us to a steak barbecue and beers afterwards.”  

Rob-Seaward-Cayman-Islands

Rob Seward is the tennis club’s head coach.

Mike-Bonikowski-Cayman-Islands

Mike Bonikowski won the title last year.

Karl-Hale-Cayman-Islands

Karl Hale was the special guest.
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