Tournament success will drive sports development, says president
Road Tennis Association president, Dale Clarke, believes the success of the current Massy United Insurance Clash of the Titans road tennis competition will serve as a catalyst for the sport’s overall development.
The tournament was launched on Sunday at Coverley, boasting first place prize money of $12,000. It has attracted large crowds and showcased a high quality of play, and Clarke said this was indicative of the positive direction in which the sport was headed.
“I strongly believe this will bring new players to the sport. Next year our calendar is going to be looking pretty impressive with the amount of tournaments we are going to be keeping,” Clarke told Barbados Today in an interview.
“Tournaments like these are going to drive new players to come. If you work it out, a $12,000 pay check in a month, there are not many Barbadians who work for that amount of money. Eventually I think we are going to get new people coming in who see that road tennis, and sports in general, could be another source of income.”
Organizers this year increased the prize money from the $5,000 from last year, and this has proven a great incentive among players. Further, Clarke said that since the Monarch of the Court tournament, there had been an increase in intensity among players and spectators.
Clarke contended that with the building interest in the tournament, he expected the standard of the sport to mushroom and an increase in the player component.
“I thought [the increase in attention] began with the Monarch of the Court tournament. From there you could have seen the interest, there was a buzz throughout Barbados,” he explained.
“In each community you go into, you can find players, young and old, because of the amount of interest by those who are playing the game now. This tournament just lends to it with the high prize money we are offering and the quality with how the players are decked out in their uniforms.
“I do believe this will go a long way in getting road tennis up to about ten per cent of its potential.”
The first few days of the tournament has also served up several upsets, and this has helped to push spectator interest to a high level. Both emerging players and seasoned players have been in excellent form, and Clarke said this was because of the preparation for the tournament.
“I am very pleased with the success . . . and we have to give credit to the sponsors and also the exceptional coverage we are getting from the media. That is playing a major role in the success of the tournament. This will get better and better as the tournament progresses,” Clarke said.
“Since the last tournament –– the Monarch of the Court –– the guys knew for quite a while that this tournament would have been coming as this is our annual tournament, the showpiece event.
“They also knew that the prize money had increased drastically so they were in training and this is being reflected in the high quality of play you are seeing at night.”
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