French Champion and former No.16 world ranked Xavier Malisse with a powerful return.
Fun was had by all in the Barbados Cup Junior Tennis tournament Youth clinic at the Barbados Tennis Centre.
Malisse and Barbados Cup ignite the youth
Grand Slam winner Xavier Malisse took to the court last Thursday at the Barbados Tennis Centre as part of a youth development programme featured in the 2nd edition of the Barbados Cup Junior Tennis Tournament.
Malisse flew into the island after an invitation by Tournament Director of the Rogers Cup, Karl Hale, and the Caribbean Cup Series. The two have been working together throughout the Caribbean to promote the game of tennis. The tennis star, who has defeated the likes of Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal, put on a clinic for around 20 children. The Barbados Cup has attracted players from all around the world including China, Japan, United States and United Kingdom.
The Barbados Cup clinic is part of a larger programme where some of the top players will be flown down to the Rogers Cup in the summer, August 3 to 10, 2019 in Toronto Canada, to expose them to a life-changing tennis experience. Along with the clinics, the initiative offers scholarship opportunities to those players involved. At the moment it offers a US scholarship for one local player from this year’s competition.
The Caribbean Cup Series has resulted in investment of over $1 000 000 in facilities across the islands. The cost is minimal because of the strategy of traveling to other islands with the benefit of competing against world class juniors.
“A lot of these players are traveling to St. Vincent next and what it does for the local players because it is so expensive to travel, having the tournaments close in a globalised area and this part of the region, it is more economical,” Hale explained.
Barbados is the first stop and then the series moves on to St. Vincent, Anguilla and finally Antigua. Hale also mentioned that Barbados has a lot of talent, but what they need is to be exposed to more competitions such as through this initiative. The children just need to be exposed to more top class tennis and they can follow top Barbadian tennis player Darian King.
Malisse, who has a passion for teaching youngsters, was happy to visit Barbados for the first time. Once #16 in the world, the French Open Champion said the clinic was enjoyable.
“It was fun. The main reason we come here is for them to enjoy themselves and give a a couple tips but for them to enjoy it.” he stated.
This type of clinic is something that he does four or five times a year but also still competes in Champion tours.
“It is very important (The event) because you all live on an island and some never get to play off island until they are older. It is nice to come here and teach them a couple things. How it is done.” Malisse explained.
After the clinic the exhibition match between Malisse and Daniel Garza of Mexico, a former top Davis Cup player brought many laughs with some of the youngsters having the opportunity to take part. Malisse came away with the win, defeating Garza 6-2 after breaking his serve in the 5th game of the 1 set exhibition. (AS)