Call for road ranking system
Julian ‘Michael Jackson’ White is Barbados’ undisputed road tennis champion.
But who can lay claim to that coveted second spot?
Is it Anthony “Ears” Mitchell? Or perhaps Antoine “Lil Man” Daniel? What about Jeffrey “Borah” Best or even Curtis Jones?
All of these can put forward strong cases to being this island’s second best player, having defeated Jackson at some stage in their careers and boasting also of several tournament victories between them.
There is one method which could be introduced to help dispel any argument about who is the best of the runners-up – a ranking system.
In international individual sports such as golf, lawn tennis and table tennis and even some team sports, for example cricket, there is a points system in place which ranks the top players and teams based on their performances in tournaments throughout the year.
Phillip “Foff” Garner, whose name has become synonymous with road tennis over the past four decades, believes that a ranking system in road tennis would be an excellent idea, especially now that Barbados is looking to take the sport to the international stage.
But he foresees one slight problem in having a creditable and accurate ranking system.
“There just aren’t enough tournaments in Barbados right now for us to formulate a good ranking system,” he told MIDWEEK SPORT in a telephone interview.
“A ranking system isn’t a hard thing to do, but it would mean that we would have to have at least three or four major competitions in Barbados yearly, but right now we don’t have that amount.
“The fact remains that the Inter-parish competition is the biggest road tennis competition in Barbados, but you can’t rank players from it because it is a team competition and not based on individual performances.”
Garner revealed that many years ago there was a Banks-sponsored competition, where players used to be ranked.
He said that Jackson had retained the title of being the No. 1 player due to his dominance over the past 10 years, but noted that it was still important for a specialized system to be put in place.
The president of the Belfield Road Tennis Club, Mervyn Lythcott, also said a rating system was necessary if road tennis is to go forward.
“I think it is an excellent idea. It is long overdue and we need it if we are looking to export road tennis and to make it an international sport,” he maintained.
“The body which is responsible for road tennis in Barbados needs to decide which tournaments will be ranked.
“It is easy to say that Jackson is the best road tennis player in Barbados because he has been so dominant, but what are we basing it on?
“There needs to be a strategic way forward for road tennis if we are to take the sport to the next level,” he said.