Youth focus for JN Open Tennis Champs
The best Jamaican tennis talent will be on display at the JN Bank Open Tennis Championships, and an almost equal number of children will get the chance to join that elite group during the tournament.
Llockett McGregor, tournament director, said that about 75 children are expected to participate in the free JN Open Tennis Tournament Kiddies Clinic on today's opening day of the tournament at the Liguanea Club.
Five of the Kiddies Clinic participants will be selected to receive in-depth tennis training at the Liguanea Club, for a one-year period, courtesy of the JN Bank.
"The five most talented players attending the Kiddies Clinic will be selected for further training," McGregor stated. "Our leading coaches and players are being called on to share their experience with the kids, and introduce them to this great game."
He was speaking at the launch of the championships, held at the Liguanea Club on Monday.
The JN Open Tennis Tournament Kiddies Clinic was introduced into the Championships in 2015, as part of a thrust to create more opportunity for talented young Jamaicans to become successful tennis players.
"We had a total of about 75 youngsters participating in the clinic last year; and we are hoping to see at least the same number this year," the tournament director said. "Our junior players are doing very well, and we want to add to their number by identifying more talented young players."
McGregor pointed out that the JN Bank Open Tennis Championships itself started out in 2001, as a junior competition; and has evolved to the point where it is now the biggest competition on the tennis calendar for this year, with JN Bank providing $1 million in sponsorship.
PASSIONATE ABOUT DEVELOPMENT
Janice Robinson Longmore, chief, operations, JN Bank, stated that, "The Jamaica National Group is passionate about the development of Jamaica and sports. Tennis Jamaica is also passionate about honing and recognising the talents of our young tennis sportsmen and women, and by doing so, further encouraging the growth of this sport in Jamaica."
McGregor explained that Tennis Jamaica is the governing body of tennis in Jamaica; and the JN Bank Open Tennis Championships is sanctioned by the organisation, meaning that players get national ranking points at the senior level from their performance in this event.
This is what attracts professional players, such as Dominic Pagon, who said, "I plan at a minimum to get to the semi-finals, as I did last year; and, hopefully, win the tournament. I am feeling comfortable with the way I am playing now."
Approximately 100 top tennis players are expected to participate in this year's championship which will end on December 9.