December Invitational fast approaching
The success on both the regional and international levels have President of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), Steven Turnquest looking forward to the hosting of the December Invitational.
Turnquest knows the competition will be fierce as top collegiate and professional players will take to the court December 18. All players will be playing for a spot on one of the various national teams, next year. It was confirmed by Turnquest that the tournament, which will be played at the National Tennis Centre, is a pre-qualifier, as a result, the invitational is mandatory for all persons receiving government assistance. There are currently more than 10 tennis players on the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s subvention list.
“One of our bigger events on the calendar is the invitational for the top players, primarily for those players who are on subvention,” said Turnquest. “It is mandatory for those players who are on subvention to show because you need to prove yourself, more or less and we would like to see where you are at this time. So it goes a long way in determining what will happen and what tournaments they are going to participate in next year as well.
“I believe that if you are getting some training money, the Ministry of Sports expects to see some work being done and you advancing in the sport. They have tighten the range, as far as the financial assistance to some of the players, who are struggling to train and play is concern. It is a lot to be able to balance your pro career and training. We have around 13 players, so having them play and see where they are will be fun to watch. The invitational gives us a chance to see if they have improved or maintaining a high play level.”
The December Invitational is the last competition on the BLTA’s calendar. Players will compete in the Orange Bowl, to be held in Miami, Florida. Turnquest is also excited about the annual Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational and the Nike Junior Tour International Masters tournament. The Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational will be held at the Atlantis Resort, December 2-5 while the junior tournament is set for December 9-14, at Club Med Columbus Isle in San Salvador. A tournament will also be held for the junior players between the ages of 12-16, according to Turnquest.
“There are several big things happening which we are really proud of,” stated Turnquest. “On December 4, one or two of the players from the Mark Knowles’ invitational will be down to help out with the kids from 3:00-5:00 p.m. His help and assistance with the junior program is greatly appreciated.
“The Nike tournament is for all those player who participated on the Nike Tour worldwide, that will culminate in San Salvador on December 14. We don’t have any players in the tournament because we didnt have any players who won any tournaments on the Nike Tour. But they did invite four players, two in the 12 age group and two in the 14 age group. The two boys and girls will go down and observe. They will hit with some of the players as well, so all they need to do is make their way there and the tournament will make all the other arrangements. This is their (the tournament’s) contribution towards having the event in The Bahamas. The Ministry of Tourism is coordinating some things with them as well, so we are looking forward to going up there.”