Young players like fast-rising teenager Hannah Chambers could be playing on more courts at the National Tennis Centre by year-end. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
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The Barbados Tennis Association is hoping to have four more courts installed at its National Tennis Centre in Wildey this year.
President Dr Raymond Forde revealed that the project which is being financed by the Maria Holder Trust is currently in the final stages of Town and Country Planning and the association was hoping to make a start around May or June.
“Because of how the land is situated, there is a little overhang of two or three courts which would have to be partially suspended,” Forde told MIDWEEK SPORT in a recent interview.
“So the underneath drainage is what Town & Country Planning has to be happy about because within recent times we have had issues with flooding in the area, which was only occurring about ten years ago because of the construction in Fort George Heights and the areas above there,” he explained.
The addition of those courts will bring the number of courts to eight which is expected to facilitate larger draws as well as the hosting of other international tournaments.
Forde said years ago, 64 draws were played at the centre until the International Tennis Federation changed the limits on the number of Barbadians who could get into the draw.
“At present when we have our international tournaments what has happened over the years is that we are only allowed a draw of 32 because a tournament has to finish within the period of a week,” Forde said.
“The ITF have looked at the amount of courts given in consideration of rain delays and maybe a day that you can’t play. When we were behind schedule we would play at the Yacht Club and other venues,” he explained.
However, he pointed out that eight courts would allow for cutting down on the number of officials they had to bring in, which resulted in the bulk of the expenses when staging international events in recent times.
With Barbados considered as one of the leading countries in the region, Forde said he believed it would be good for them to give back by hosting some of the tournaments.
“There is an Under-12 Development Team Championship held during the summer in the Eastern Caribbean which needs a minimum of eight courts. We also have the Under-14 World Championship, the Under-16 Junior Davis Cup and the Futures Tournament which allows college players ranked between 300 and 1000 to play.
“It will give local players a chance to play at home without having to look for ticket fare or hotel accommodation. Having a chance to host these events will give more of our players exposure, and allow us to do our part in the Central America and Caribbean region,” Forde noted. (RG)