Professional Road Tennis Association CEO Dale Clarke speaking during Wednesday’s launch of the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Ltd – Monarchs of the Court.
Monarchs of the Court to begin this weekend
Come Sunday August 12, close to 100 players of all levels will be letting it all hang out as over $25 000 in prize money goes up for grabs in the 2018 Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Ltd – Monarchs of the Court. Set to serve off at 4 pm at Coverley, this year’s edition marks the fourth supported by the local financial institution.
During the launch and draw held at the the credit union’s Belmont Road branch on Wednesday night, Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Road Tennis Association Dale Clarke called the event the most prestigious on the annual calendar and said that its association with the credit union had given the sport a boost locally. “Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Limited’s partnership with the PRTA has truly risen the profile of our indigenous sport. Road tennis courts, which were found in perceived impoverished communities, can now be found in most locations around the island. The demographic of the sport is also widening as more persons are now playing and becoming professionals.” he said.
With 52 other players registered to go after defending Men’s champion and number-two seed Julian “Michael Jackson” White, 18 are seeking to dethrone Sheldine Waldron who is seeded at the top of the Women’s category. The tournament has also seen a increase in numbers a there are 19 Mixed Doubles teams, up from last year’s eight.
The tournament continues to cater to the Juniors and there are 6-11 and 12-16 Boys’ and Open Girls’ categories. In a bid to encourage the transition from Junior to Seniors, two young players in Shaquon Henry and Shakeem Nurse have been admitted to the top division.
Calling the upcoming edition of the tournament “the best to date”, Clarke highlighted some changes and additions taking effect this year. Noting that the officiating was often criticised in past, Clarke said that this had been
addressed as all officials were required to attend a workshop which was aimed at standardising the regulations.
Also expected to add to the excitement on offer, Clarke stated that Veterans and Celebrity categories were also implemented for the first time this year.
“For the first time, the tournament will feature a Veteran’s category. This was conceptualised to honour the stalwarts who paved the way. There will also be a celebrity competition where the winner and runner-up will donate their winnings to a charity of
their choice. The response has been fascinating and I am quite confident they will entertain and thrill us with their skills.” he said.
Expected to run for three weeks the tournament gets started at Coverley before moving to Spring Garden for the latter stages of play.