White, Daniel after $10 000
The question which has been circulating in Barbados for over a month as to who will win the $10 000 in the Monarchs of the Courts road tennis competition will be answered when the finals are staged at The Ranch, Spring Garden, tonight.
That query definitely intensified after the most successful road tennis player in the world, Julian “Michael Jackson” White, predictably reached the finals on Wednesday night to battle the most exciting player in Antoine “Lil Man” Daniel.
With road tennis fans often keen to “put something on their man” I have been forced to spend the past four days dodging old and new fans who want to be given an inside edge as to who will be taking tonight’s pot of gold.
White and Daniel will be meeting in a repeat of the Silver Hill final which White won for the first time after staging a come-from-behind, victory over a flagging Daniel.
Months later and with hundreds of new adoring supporters, Daniel is keen to avenge that loss and show that he is not just an entertainer but that he can be a champion.
“That defeat at Silver Hill was close so I am here to battle again,” he said. “I am outside the door to ten grand and I don’t plan to give up just so.
“I know of Jackson’s reputation but I don’t worry about reputations. I have a reputation too, they call me The Danger Man.”
White also admitted that Daniel was no walkover while welcoming his opponent’s return to the sport which has seen a return of the fan in droves. “Antoine has brought back a lot of people with his attractive style of tennis as most of the players are defenders” White said.
“It is good to see Antoine back out and playing that way. However, I take every game in stride and when Antoine played Curtis (Jones) Antoine made a number of errors which Curtis did not capitalize on.
“I will be looking to take advantage of those errors and I am the kind of player who can control the ball both sides of the court. But, Antoine is a very confusing player which is his strength.”
While fans are excited by Daniel’s array of shots particularly from balls lesser players would try to defend or save, the former national champion showed in his quarter-final match against Mark “Venom” Griffith that he can be just as strong in defence and controlled play when he stopped attacking at 13-19 to take the decider at 21-19.
Both White and Daniel are strong servers with Daniel holding the obvious edge in attack while White is the better defender. White is superior in putting a tennis ball on a penny repeatedly while Daniel’s fire balls will determine if Ras Iley’s Spring Garden On Fire will become the theme song for tonight’s finals.
White has won 40 national titles, something Daniel cannot match at his age. Daniel has won both the junior and senior titles in the same year, something which White cannot match. Both players are at the top of their game.
With such statistics, anyone who still wants to put down something should put it down on the game being a thriller with the spectators surpassing the 2 000 figure seen at the semi-finals.
The 21-and-Under finals will see Emar Edwards battling Darius “Baraccus” Gaskin in a repeat of the 2013/14 Island-wide which Gaskin won. Since then he has been struggling for form while Edwards has continued to improve his game.
The winner grabs $500 and the loser $250 with a variety of vouchers being added to the pot.
The two finals are slated to be played at 7.30 and 8.45 with the Best Dressed Female winning a cash prize of $250. To ensure that there is no delay the third placed match has been cancelled with Curtis Jones and Anthony “Ears” Mitchell splitting the combined $3 000.