Mon | Jun 17, 2019

Hurt that tennis star playing for USA instead of Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | November 15, 2017 | 12:12 AM
Blaise Bicknell
Blaise Bicknell
Nicola Bicknell


It was with a deep sense of home-grown pride that I watched Jamaican Blaise Bicknell capture the recently concluded ITF Level Five lawn tennis tournament held at the Liguanea Club recently.

Blaise is one of the hardest-working tennis players and is deserving of all the success. He is an example to many Jamaican young tennis players of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication and he is destined for great things. He and his family should be rightly proud of his accomplishments on the tennis court to date.

My immense pride was tempered, however, when I saw that young Bicknell, the pride and joy of Jamaican tennis in my mind, was actually representing another country - the United States - and has apparently been doing so for some time.

My concern with this was compounded when I was reminded that his mother, Nicola Bicknell, is an integral part of the local governing body for the sport, Tennis Jamaica, as she is one of the board directors and, indeed, the one primarily responsible for, of all things, junior development!




Why would one of those tasked with developing Jamaican tennis for the youth choose to have her own young son playing under the flag of another nation? While I suspect that the answer will centre around greater opportunities when playing for the mighty USA, I would want to think that Mrs Bicknell and others like her would use their considerable influence to improve Jamaican tennis and, as a by-product of their efforts, create those same opportunities that her son now presumably gets from the USA for tennis players locally who play under our national flag.

Am I overreacting? If you say yes, consider the public outcry if the late great Captain Horace Burrell, while marshalling and being elected to develop Jamaica's football programme, had one of his sons who just happened to be the top baller in the country representing another nation against Jamaica. I suspect that he would have been asked to step down or to immediately rethink that decision and have the youngster represent our country, which is exactly what I am encouraging the parents of young Blaise Bicknell to do.