Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre has reaffirmed its sponsorship - to the tune of $1 million - of this year's Tennis Jamaica Open Championships, which will be held at the Liguanea Club, New Kingston, August 13-19.
Dayne Patterson, marketing officer of Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre, whose company is sponsoring the championships for the second consecutive year, said they are committed to the development of the sport.
"We see this as an event which will develop the sport in the country, and not just for benefits that we will get for being the title sponsors," said Patterson during yesterday's press launch at the Liguanea Club.
"We see what Tennis Jamaica is aiming for and so just want to come on board and support the growth of the sport.
"Last year was very exciting, and so I think we will end up with more international players this year. They actually raised the level of tennis, and I am hoping that local players will also step it up too," noted Patterson.
John Bailey, president of Tennis Jamaica, said he was delighted for the sponsorship and support from corporate Jamaica in helping to showcase tennis on the international stage.
"We are tremendously grateful for this sponsorship at this time of the year, especially with all these activities going on. We commend Hi-Pro Ace big time for coming in," said Bailey.
"Without sponsors there are no tournaments, because it takes money to care and to put on a tournament, and we at Tennis Jamaica can't be forking out (money) and so we need sponsors to run our competitions," said Bailey, who is anticipating an exciting championship.
"We have very high expectations both from our overseas players and our top players in Jamaica, and I believe that this is going to be a very exciting tournament," Bailey noted.
Last year's beaten finalist, Damion Johnson, along with Dominic Pagon and Daniel Harris, are among 19 male players who have so far been confirmed to take part in the championship, which also includes four overseas players.
On the other hand, four female players have so far been confirmed for the championships.
Johnson, a national senior representative, said he will be going all out to secure this year's title.
"I am not only thinking about getting to the final, I am thinking about winning the tournament," said Johnson.
He added: "I am very confident in my game and what I do, and so I am going out there to play with confidence."
The male winner of the championships will receive US$4,000, the runner-up will collect US$2,000 while each semi-finalist will get US$1,000.
The female champion will collect US$1,100, while the runner-up with pocket US$500.