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Lythcott still on top of his game

Lythcott still on top of his game Mervyn Lythcott (left) and referee Tito Ellis taking notes during the recent Belfield Road Tennis Tournament. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

By Randy Bennett | Wed, October 31, 2012 - 12:03 AM

At almost each and every road tennis competition, Mervyn Lythcott can be seen.

With notepad in hand and readily armed with his pencil and pen, he takes notes after each point is won, or lost, careful to ensure that each box is correctly ticked.

At 59 years old, he is no longer able to compete at the highest level, his speed and agility almost nonexistent, his ability to rally long points a thing of the past.

But one thing of extreme importance that Lythcott still has is his knowledge of the sport.

Having been involved in road tennis for over 50 years, the president of the Belfield Road Tennis Club has turned his sights to coaching, hoping to impart some of his vast knowledge to those younger and interested people.

And having coached some of this island’s best road tennis players, such as Anthony “Tiny’ Jordan, Antoine Daniel, Edward “Dabo” Carrington and Curtis “Socks” Bailey, Lythcott has proved that he is just as good off the court as he was on it.

A former tennis champion after winning the Tweedside/Esso Road Tennis Competition back in the 1980s by defeating Junior “JB” Barrow, Lythcott knows what it requires to get to the top.

Currently, the three-year-old Belfield Road Tennis Club has about 30 members, ranging in ages from 13 to 60, with coaching available for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced players.

“There is nothing more that I enjoy than giving people the help and information they need to better their road tennis game,” he told MIDWEEK SPORT in an interview recently.

“There is plenty of interest in road tennis from the youngsters, but the biggest problem which I have encountered is that they don’t like to listen.

“The young and new players tend to watch some of the more experienced players play, and then when it is their turn to get on the court, they tend to want to play the attractive and exciting shots.

“I regularly have to explain to them that it isn’t about what the crowd likes, but it’s about what will help their development and their maturity as tennis players,” Lythcott said.

Lythcott, who is also a former Barbados footballer, explained that presently he prefers to carry out most of his practice sessions on court but was hoping to implement video as another means of teaching.

He revealed that he also had dreams of turning Belfield into the road tennis capital of Barbados.

Citing that the sport desperately needed a permanent home, he noted that most of the island’s best players currently practise there and, therefore, converting it to the headquarters for road tennis was only natural.

“We need a place where we can put road tennis under a roof, where the rain wouldn’t stop the game from being played.

“Right now, a lot of the top guys play right here in Belfield and I couldn’t think of a better place where people could congregate to play tennis whenever they felt like.”

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