Road tennis heading to the 'big apple’
First it was the Ranch on Spring Garden; then it was the Villages at Coverley.
Now Barbados’ indigenous sport of road tennis is making a guest appearance in New York.
Dale Clarke, the man who brought the Monarchs of the Court and Clash of the Titans road tennis competitions, now has plans to host the first major road tennis tournament in the US.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, Clarke, the president of the Professional Road Tennis Association (PRTA) has revealed his plans to host the finals of the Cream of the Crop competition in New York.
Clarke explained that the tournament will be invitational only and will feature the top eight male and female players on the island.
He said the preliminary rounds would be held during the last week of Crop Over in Barbados, with the finals slated to be played in New York on the weekend before Labour Day.
“It is the first time a major road tennis competition is being held in the US and I am very excited about the possibilities,” Clarke noted.
“New York is one of the sporting hubs in North America. It boasts of franchises such as the Yankees, the Nets and the Knicks, so it is definitely a huge step to be able to host a road tennis competition here.
“We have already made steps to push the sport regionally, so this is another major breakthrough into getting road tennis on the international scene,” the PRTA head said.
Clarke, who only recently entered into a partnership with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), which will see tournaments being broadcast live across the region, also revealed a television channel in the US was also on board with the event.
This he said meant that there was a distinct possibility that the finals could also be aired live in the US.
“We are working towards broadcasting the final not only around the region, but also here in the US.
“This could be huge. If we are able to broadcast some of the best road tennis players to viewers across the world, that would be a remarkable achievement,” Clarke insisted.
Apart from the finals being played, he said there would also be an exhibition match between two of the island’s top juniors as well as two of New York’s best players.
He said they were now awaiting permission from the relevant authorities in the US, before the venue for the final was determined.
Citing the success of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s Q in the Community event, which was also held in New York recently, Clarke acknowledged he would be looking to target the wide West Indian community which reside there.
“There are a lot of Bajans and West Indians who live in New York, who may not have had the opportunity to travel back home, so we are looking to bring some of our West Indian culture to them,” he explained.
“Once we can do that, we know we will also attract Americans and visitors to the US to the event, and that will greatly assist us in helping to increase the popularity of road tennis around the world.”