February 26, 2010
Grass Root Tennis Club launched

Once regarded as the local Mecca of tennis, the Haddon Hotel courts located at Murray’s Road came to life as the Grass Roots Tennis Club and programme was officially launched last Saturday, February 20.{{more}}

The facility dates back to 1957 and has been credited with the development of a number of former national junior players.

Ownership of the property changed over the years, with the Hadley family being the initial proprietor. However, it remained as one of the premier tennis membership clubs in the land.

After some financial constraints forced the Hadleys to sell the property, the burden rested upon a few of the members who maintained the tradition of the club as a ‘members only’ facility.

The courts remained open, hosting a number of junior tournaments until the facility was again put up for sale and was purchased by local businessman Bertille “Silky” DaSilva.

By this time, most of the players who frequented the courts had already moved on and the facility fell into a state of disrepair.

That is until Grant Connell, former junior player and president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association, had a vision of rehabilitating the facility to provide the youth of the nation who would have been otherwise deprived the opportunity to play tennis and develop their game.

“With everything a dot com away, I don’t see why a child should have to be deprived the opportunity to play,” Connell said.

He said he approached Silky and Caspar DaSilva, owners of the facility and the process was started.

The programme will afford junior players from all across the country the opportunity to play and to begin nurturing up and coming talent.

“The time has come for us to understand the role of sport in the development of a people,” Connell continued.

“It is initiatives like this that will continue to strengthen tennis in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Anthony McKenzie, President of the National Tennis Association, said.

“The association is quite aware of the financial limitations of public and private groups and we are more appreciative of initiatives like this which promote and deliver tennis.”

He opined that there were too few choices today being made available to children to promote a healthy and disciplined lifestyle.

“We hope that the effort of the Grass Roots tennis club will afford children a useful path for the development in tennis and more importantly as responsible and healthy citizens,” he said. (DD)