Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Touch Tuina/Swept Away Clay tourney starts today

Published:Saturday | October 19, 2019 | 12:12 AMLeroy Brown/Gleaner Writer

A prize of $1 million will be on the line this weekend in the Touch Tuina Couples Swept Away Open Clay Court Tennis Tournament, which serves off this morning at the Couples Swept Away Hotel in Negril at 9 a.m.

The tournament, which has been the only open clay court championship in Jamaica, each year, for the past 28 years, has attracted an entry list of 80 players who will be vying for titles and prize money in five categories. These are the Men’s and Women’s Open singles, Men’s Pro 35, Men’s Amateur 35, and Pro/AM doubles.

Touch Tuina Medical Therapy principal Errol Lynch and Couples Swept Away Hotel Sports Manager Syrika Grizzle, representing the name sponsors, told The Gleaner yesterday that they were pleased with the interest being shown in the tournament. They say that many of the players who participated last year will be in the line-up again this year, and they see that as a good sign.

TOP SINGLES TITLE

The three-day event will end on Monday, Heroes Day, with the finals in all five divisions. Leading the hunt for the top singles titles will be defending champions Rowland ‘Randy’ Phillips, Jamaica’s No. 1 player, and Pauline Hylton. With 2017 champion Blaise Bicknell not in the tournament this year because he is at school overseas, Phillips is the favourite to take the men’s title. He has declared himself to be “fit and ready to take on all challengers,” and although a few overseas players will be in the mix, his main competition should come from the Malcolm brothers, Marcus and Macoy.

Tournament Director Llockett McGregor says he’s pleased with the men’s singles entry of 26 players and predicts that competition in this category will be keen and exciting. He said that although there were only seven women contesting the singles, the defending champion, Hylton, was playing good tennis and was well prepared to defend her title. Her main challenge should come from the outstanding juniors Michaela Stephens, who also won in 2017, and Selena Bird, who has been playing overseas and is in good form.

The Men’s singles champion will take home $200,000 and the runner-up $100,000. The prize money in the Female singles will see the winner taking home $85,000, with $42,500 to the runner-up.