Ritz-Carlton corporate tennis league heating up

Several of the largest companies in Cayman are pounding the ball back and forth in The Ritz-Carlton’s Luca-Ragazzi Corporate Tennis League’s spring season. Teams from Dart, Deloitte and KPMG are all thriving in the 14-team league, which competes three days a week on the only clay courts in Grand Cayman.

Most of the players in the league are at an experienced recreational level, and the league is split into an eight-team A division and a six-team B division. The champion of the B division will be moved into the higher category next season, and the last-place team in A division will be relegated back to the Bs.

The league, which is sponsored by local Italian restaurants Luca and Ragazzi, has been running since 2009, and The Ritz-Carlton has split it into a spring and fall season. The spring season, which began in late March, will progress to the playoffs in mid-June and will stage its championships in the first week of July.

Dejan Breski, one of three tennis pros at the Ritz, is excited about the way the league is progressing.

“It’s a great sport for the company and for a team outing,” he said of the corporate league. “It’s a great way to socialize and to meet other players on a similar level or on a stronger level. It depends on how eager you are to play. You can connect, you can play tennis and you can learn from each other.”

Each team in the league is made up of eight members, and they compete in three sets of doubles. One set will be just for men, one for women, and a third for a mixed team of any makeup. The teams compete in an eight-game pro set, and if they are tied at 7-7, they break the deadlock with a tie-breaker.

The Ritz-Carlton has five courts – three of red clay and two hard surface – but the league competes exclusively on the softer surface. Mr. Breski said that clay is more competitive and makes for a better playing experience, and the players like it because it’s the only place on the island with that surface.

There are teams of all skill and competitive levels involved in the league, and Mr. Breski said that the players call their own lines. Matches are held three times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – but makeup dates are frequently needed due to rainouts once the fall season begins.

The fall season will not begin until September, and Mr. Breski said The Ritz-Carlton will begin signing teams up at the beginning of August. Players are required to have proper tennis shoes to play on the clay, but there are no Wimbledon-style prohibitions of tennis clothes with color in them.

And if you do not have the proper equipment in your closet, The Ritz-Carlton boasts the only tennis-centric equipment and apparel pro shop on Grand Cayman. The Ritz also offers private and group lessons for players of all levels, but the corporate league is beginning to take on a life of its own.

“For the companies in the Cayman Islands, it’s a great thing if you want an outdoor activity,” said Mr. Breski. “If you want to learn a new skill, it’s a great thing to come outside and form a team. If you’re a good player, we can put you on the list and if a team needs you, you can participate in the league.”

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