Mexico win the North American IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge
It was close on the third day after both Mexico and The USA had wins over The Bahamas and Barbados on the first two days. So it was all to play for on day three. Mexico got a good start winning both boys singles but The USA levelled it at 2-2 by winning the two girls singles. In the doubles the Mexican boys again came through meaning the girls doubles was now critical. This time the Mexican girls were able to reverse their two losses in the singles to come through in the doubles giving Mexico a 4-2 victory and a place in The Worldwide Finals at La Jolla, California. This will be 8th - 14th November 2020 where we are hoping Rod Laver will be able to attend. The USA who had fought a good match were disappointed but do have the consolation that as the hosts for The Worldwide Finals they will also have a place in that. These two teams will be joined by the winners of the other regional events which are: Japan, Italy, Argentina and South Africa.
In the match for 3rd and fourth place between Barbados and host Bahamas it was even closer than the match to win this regional event. In Boys singles The Bahamas won both matches followed also by the doubles while in the girls matches Barbados came through in all three matches to level the tie at 3 matches each by winning both singles and doubles. So it was a mixed tie break to decide the winner. The Bahamas went in to a 3-0 lead but Barbados rallied to come back and win to get third place.
During the event an excellent clinic was held for 25 kids who lost their homes in Northern Bahama islands during Hurricane Dorian and are living in temporary accommodation in the main island in Nassau, New Providence. All the juniors and their coaches joined in to help with this under the guidance of Perry Newton head of BLTA Junior Development . The junior players were split in to four groups under the guidance of a main coach with a boy and girl junior from all the different nationality teams in each group. This helped them to mix and get to know each other better too. The hurricane kids were rotated through each group with different drills ending up combining in to two groups for a “tennis contest” on a real court of volleying with soft balls. All the kids were given a small something to take away plus a tennis ball to help continue their interest.
Overall the event went off well and the sportsmanship was good throughout helped by the coaches/captains setting a good example and talking to their teams about this. The IC philosophy of “hands across the net, friendship across the ocean” was well evident and the juniors not only had a great tennis experience but made good friends as the event progressed.
Sportsmanship awards went to Chloe Weeks of Barbados and Denali Nottage of The Bahamas and there were many other deserving candidates.
The two teams of Barbados and Mexico who stayed overnight were taken on a sail boat trip up Nassau Harbour by one of our IC members after matches on the third day. This was followed by “Chinese and Ice Cream cake” at another IC Members home overlooking the dock where the boat is moored. All in good IC spirit of friendship.