By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Robert McKenzie and Mark Tan were crowned U14 Development Tournament champions while Kate Robeldo and Venerando Beniza, emerged as Onemart Singles champions, in weekend play that saw 34 participants in both divisions of the BVI Tennis Association competition at the Long Look Education and Tennis Center.
The U14 tournament attracted a combined 13 players from the Tortola Sports Club and the Long Look Tennis and Education Center, who played in a Round Robin format.
McKenzie emerged victorious over Courntey Lindsay in the Green Dot Ball segment.
“It was fun and I like playing against people and it was a fun thing to do. I like playing against my friends and it shows me how I can improve,” he said. “Yes, yes, yes. I was surprised to win because I was quite nervous. I thought there would be a lot of people better than me and I was just nervous in general.”
Lindsay said he won three games, which he described as ‘challenging.’ “I was low on confidence but when the person had 40 love, I’d say, it’s not over until it’s over and I fought and won the point.”
Ava Ghiorse placed third. “I think there were some hard rounds and I did good considering I’d never played in a tournament before and I think my compatriots did very well as well,” she said. “I was very nervous. I had bugs in my stomach, but then I was like, this is what I do every day, just play tennis.”
Mark Tan was the winner of the regular ball against Eric Joseph and said everyone had a challenge, had fun and most importantly, everyone participated. “My serve and myself were the biggest challenges,” he said. “They were inconsistent. I made a couple double faults and my first serve wasn’t going in (the box) but I managed to go through.”
The tournament was fun, Shawn Martin said and he was trying to have fun with his friends. “I was good, but some of them were hard to play against but I got through,” he said of competing against new players for the first time. “I didn’t know what their skill level was.”
Kate Robeldo won the Onemart Women’s singles with a 6-4 victory over Donna Padilla. “To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting—I was hoping though, to win, but I really wasn’t expecting to win, it’s more like having fun,” Robeldo said. “I think it’s important to have a support system, because when they’re there, you can focus and if you have the people that believe you could win, it’s a big lift to your self esteem. I was very happy because this is my first women’s singles title, because I usually play doubles.”
Venerando Beniza defeated Deandrea Baijanuth, 6-3, 6-2, for the Men’s singles title.
BVI Tennis Association President Carol Mitchell, said the Onemart Tournament was exciting. “The matches between the ladies and the men, most of them were epic matches that went to the 6 all and then tiebreaker,” she noted. “We had 12 women in singles and nine men.”
Mitchell said the U14 Development Tournament that attracted 13 players was a success, collaborating with the Tortola Sports Club and its coaches and the private sector, which was a great moment. “We had youths and they were all keen to play matches,” she noted. “Robert McKenzie who won the green dot ball, he was elated,” she said. “The girls that played were excited and the parents were happy that we had the tournament and asked for us to host more tournaments. So overall, it was positive with everything that happened on Saturday.”