White still mightiest
Even as he approaches the age of 45, ace road tennis player Julian “Michael Jackson” White continues to dominate the courts.
His latest triumph came on Saturday night when he captured his tenth Republic Bank championship, in a “shotgun” tournament at the Belfield Court in Black Rock.
White defeated Curtis Jones after dropping the first game and trailing in the second of the best-of-three final that followed a “one-game elimination” format throughout the preliminary stages.
Despite the victory, the veteran expressed disappointment over the size of the crowd and the behaviour of some spectators.
“The tournament came off pretty good. The only thing was we didn’t get the crowd we’ve been getting over the years,” he told MIDWEEK SPORT after the weekend event.
“One or two fellows in the background were keeping noise when you were playing. It didn’t affect me but it seemed to hamper Curtis Jones.”
White, who has been competing for more than two decades, said his powers of concentration allowed him to ignore such behaviour.
“I come to play tennis and I concentrate pretty hard. I can be pretty calm and I try not to let any outside interference affect me,” he said.
Jones admitted to being adversely affected by White’s frequent towelling as well but the king of the courts defended his actions, explaining that contrary to popular belief it was not a strategy to upset the rhythm of his opponent.
“I perspire a lot. The perspiration ends up where I stand up and sometimes I would slip,” White said.
“It’s my left hand I usually dry, the hand with which I hold the ball to serve. If I serve it wet then they would say I serving to make the ball slide. Whatever you do in sport it affects somebody somewhere somehow.
“I don’t see how it became an issue after playing me on five or six occasions. I think it was petty on this occasion.
“He [Jones] is one of the players I have a lot of respect for. To see how Jones improve and take the game serious . . . .
“I would always give any road tennis player credit for the ability they have and where they reach in the game,” said White, a 22-year veteran who noted that Jones had been in competition for fewer than ten years.
Jones expressed some satisfaction with his own performance but thought he could have done better. He attributed his failure to complete the job to a number of factors.
“One that really stood out was when “Jackson” [White] kept walking away in the second game. The scorers don’t usually say anything to him when he takes time to wipe his hand after every point.
“In the first game he didn’t do it. Up to 10-14 in the second he wasn’t doing it but after that he kept on doing it,” Jones said.
He added that some players seem to use this as a strategy and he had suffered before at the hands of White through this tactic.
“In a previous tournament I had him 16-9 and he kept on breaking and breaking. I got one point after that,” he said.
The losing finalist said he was also put off by some of the spectators who did not seem to know when to keep quiet.
Jones revealed that there was one particular guy behind him that he was trying to block out but to no avail.
“It just got to me and after a while I just lost it,” he said.