Cayman Islands Tennis Club head coach Rob Seward said last weekend’s Cayman Cup helped put the country on the map for international competitions.
The 80 players – mostly juniors – who competed came from all over the world, he said, including Australia, Finland, Chile, Columbia, Canada and the United States.
Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki won the boys division, beating Keshav Chopra of the United States, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
In the girls division, the United States’ Madison Sieg overpowered Catherine Aulia of Australia, 6-1, 6-2.
Alex Claybourn was one of 15 Cayman players who competed in the tournament. He played in the newly added under-14 division and faced Nicaragua’s Joaquin Guillame in the finals. Guillame won 6-1, 6-2, leaving Claybourn to finish second.
Seward said tournament organizers are considering adding an under-12 division next year. More importantly, he said, they are trying to increase the profile of the event, which was classified as a grade 5 tournament this year.
“We’re hoping to have the International Tennis Federation give us the OK to make it a grade 4 [tournament],” he said. “That would create an even higher level of talent.”
He said the increased attention would be good for young Cayman tennis players. In the past, he said, a handful of Caymanian players have developed enough to get college scholarships and even play semi-professionally. It’s typically been one player every five to 10 years, he said.
“Hopefully, we’ll get three to five kids doing it at the same time,” Seward said. “This type of event will help promote that.”