Lack of finance hurting lawn tennis
Lack of finance is hindering the development of lawn tennis in Barbados but president of the Barbados local governing body, Dr Raymond Forde, says the country has defied the limited resources to exceed expectations.
Forde told Barbados TODAY that the Davis Cup team had done Barbados exceptionally proud by advancing to Group 1 of the prestigious tournament, but without the type of support and finance which is needed, reaching the world level would remain challenging.
“We have the talent but it is that exposure and everything boils down to finance,” Forde explained.
“In a small country like ours –– say for instance we were based in the United States –– it is easier to go from state to state to play tournaments because it is cheaper. Here, when we want to compete, we have to get on a plane, and then look for a hotel or accommodation, so it is really the finance.”
Playing at home earlier this year, the Davis Cup team led by the country’s highest ranked player Darian King and number two ranked, Haydn Lewis, made history when they defeated Mexico in Group ll to advance to Group l of the tournament.
They are now scheduled to play against the Dominica Republic in their opening contest from March 6-8.
Forde pointed out that while King and Lewis were performing well, they needed to get the required matrch practice in order to reach peak form.
“We did well against countries that are ranked 20 places above us but it is not going to be a very easy undertaking next year because our next round is against Dominica Republic and they have players who are ranked 70th in the world.”
Noting that his vision was to see the island’s junior players move to the next level, Forde urged businesses to invest more in the sport in order to create a wide spectrum of sponsorship.
“The public needs to understand with our limited resources we have done exceptionally well and we do need the continual support of the general public in getting our players to the next level.”
Forde was speaking to Barbados TODAY during a presentation of six wheelchairs to the Barbados Paralympics Association (BPA) at the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association in Wildey.
“By donating these to the Paralympic Association we are hoping that they can get the programme going once again. We would look to see how we can get these athletes to play competitively,” he said.
Secretary for the BPA, Maureen Worrell, said while they did not yet have a wheelchair tennis sport, they were hoping the donation would help with the development of the sport.
“We are really trying to refocus since the passing of the president [Wesley Worrell] and any help to development any aspect of Paralympic sport is appreciated.”