On Target
April 12, 2013

Salvage tennis ship now!

The national Tennis ship ran aground some time ago, and its hull has been left at the mercies of the elements.

Therefore, it is high time that the work of salvaging be carried out to get it sailing again.{{more}}

It is only the lifeboats — the Grassroot Tennis Club, the X-Cel Tennis Academy — and other private entities, which have shown some buoyancy, otherwise, the sport would have gone on a permanent voyage to the bottom of the sea.

The former has become the light house, ensuring there is a beacon amidst the darkness and angry bellows which sometimes are overwhelming.

The club has thrown out its lifeline on several occasions, hosting junior tournaments and other competitions to cater to teenaged and young adult players, as well as those who are more advanced in age.

Whilst the GTC has the bow floating, the rudder has broken off at the national level.

This is simply the appalling state of the sport at the national level.

Except for the captain of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association Anthony Mc Kenzie, who has manfully held on to the wheel, the other navigational instruments have malfunctioned, leaving the sport to go adrift, before berthing on the shores of nowhere.

But the recent successes of the Akeil De Roche and the Lyttle twins — Luka and Denee at the Eastern Caribbean championships in St Lucia over the Easter weekend, sends out the flares that tennis still has some life and other potential stars emerging on the horizon.

In the case of De Roche, his achievement is after just three years in the sport.

And, there are more who are in the wings awaiting the call to show off what they have bottled up in them, but there must be that command from those who are on the dry dock sitting and standing idly.

With this lethargy and malaise on board, the sport’s main port, the National Tennis Centre at Villa, has sailed aimlessly into the clutches of the private coaches, who are making off with their bounties, as there is little by way of guidance.

The Centre is in need of a firm hand to ensure that its use is maximised to the benefit of all concerned, and not by a selected few.

This is against the fact, that such a facility, apart from its daily upkeep, continues to be ruined.

As it stands, the courts there are dire need of repair and the general sprucing up of the aesthetics of what was a showpiece, when compared to others in the Eastern Caribbean.

Such urgent attention must come like yesterday, as St Vincent and the Grenadines is once more in line to host its leg of the International Tennis Federation junior circuit, in about four months time.

That tournament means too much to St Vincent and the Grenadines. This column is sending out the SOS call to those who love tennis; those whose children have benefitted from tennis, to put on their rescue gear and save it from becoming a derelict property.

First up, a new captain and a bunch of committed crew members have to be installed, who are willing to stay onboard through the thick and thin.

Getting back tennis firmly anchored in the moorings of trust, mutual respect for one another and selfless support, are keys for its continued survival.

Then the re-energising the sport; the regaining the confidence of the corporate sector; and its return to a pride of place in the local sporting arena would fall into place.