By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Four doubles champions—including two epic male matches—saw the crowning of the doubles champions in the Biosafe Long Look Tennis and Educational Christmas Hamper on Dec 3.
Director and Coach of the center Carol Mitchell, told Island Sun Sports that the female players in the Green Dot Ball, were playing in their first tournament, which was to encourage them to build their confidence and courage to play in the singles tournament in 2022.
“I’m happy that we started the Tennis Express program, play Tennis the easy way, serve, rally and score,” Mitchell said. “Most of them have shown commitment to the sport and love it and enjoy what they’re doing.”
Akeisha Spencer and Natasha Bennett—who began their Tennis Journey in June—downed Dionne King and Itasha George-Phillips, 4-0 and 4-2 in the green dot ball. Spencer and Bennet overcame A’Zaria Martin and Lianna Greene, 4-1, 4-3.
“It was an intense match. We both started injured and we came out on top, so we’re very proud,” Spencer, whose favorite stroke is the back hand said. “It was a bit challenging from the beginning to end, but we triumphed and we’re grateful. I started about eight months ago but my partner started later and she improved. She played a great match today.”
Bennett said the victory was ‘amazing.’ “When I came this afternoon, I could hardly walk and my husband said; ‘you can’t play again’ and I just said no, I’m going to sit down, but I came and said no, I’m not sitting down,” she reflected. “So I pushed through and we won. My wrist is injured, then I had a pain in my back and chest, so I could hardly walk when I started. It’s a blessing to be here and to have this to come to every evening,” Bennett added. “It is so refreshing not to think about anything. You come and it’s just Tennis. You don’t have to think of anything. Everything is gone when you’re playing, so it’s really good.”
King said it was a good match and she really wanted to win. “But that’s how it goes sometimes, you win some and you lose some,” she said. “They really tested us but next time, we’re coming for it.”
King said her serve was off and she was hitting the ball too hard on her returns and the ball kept going out. “I have to come with less power next time and (have) more control and we will be successful in the next match,” she predicted. “They could enjoy it for now, but next time, we’re coming out on top.”
George-Phillips said they came into the finals as underdogs, after needing a tie breaker to get past Fay Jones and Monique Hodge, 1-4, 4-2, 3-3 (7-5). “I don’t believe anybody thought we would have gotten here because of our skill levels,” she noted. “It was a good match and they outplayed us.”
In the regular ball division, Monnet Burgin and Yucari Brewley, overcame Kamaria Wheatley and Malika Bowens, 6-4. Wheatley and Bowens stopped Martha Bowens and Patricia “Pat” Lettsome, 6-3.
“My friends Malika and Kamaria were throwing out talk so we had to teach them a lil lesson, but I’m not going to lie, they had us at the beginning,” Brewley said. “We made a lot of mistakes but we took the victory in the end. At first I was playing too simple—playing the ball back to them—but in the end, I decided to play with confidence, go for my shots, defend the net and correct my wrongs.”
Burgin said it was a good game and Bowens and Wheatley played well. “We made some mistakes but we were able to correct them and win the game,” she said. “Yucari was looking at the mistakes I was making, she pointed them out and I was able to correct those mistakes and go for the shots.”
Bowens said she’s not sure why they fell apart after a great start. “I feel like I was stretching for the ball,” she noted. “I wasn’t taking my time to hit the ball and I think if I had done that, we could have won the game.”
Wheatley said she needed to raise her hand more so that the ball could go over the net instead of hitting it. “I guess I could have been more consistent with my serves as well,” she said.
In the Jr. Boys Division, Eric Joseph and Kimathi Wheatley overcame Courtney Lindsay and Kishawn Martin in an epic battle, 4-0, 2-2, 3-3 (7-4). Adrian Baijnauth and Jamal Bertie overhauled Carrie Glenn and Deandrea Baijnauth, 7-5, 1-4 and 11-9.