Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Tennis Jamaica and NCB Capital Markets have forged a successful partnership that has seen world-ranked tennis players being brought to the island to match their skills against the best that the country has to offer.
The NCB Capital Markets Jamaica Tennis Open Championship, which is in its second year, has attracted five world-ranked players for the seven-day-long tournament that served off on Monday. The competition's highest globally ranked player is Tim Smyczek, who has an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking of 130.
"We are very pleased that we have been able to get world-ranked players this year," Tennis Jamaica President John Bailey expressed during a meet-and-greet session with the players and sponsors at the Spanish Court Hotel on Wednesday. "So far the tournament has been going great; it is progressing as we have planned and as the seedings have suggested.
"I think that in the next couple days you are going to see some outstanding tennis. We do have five world-ranked players here headed by Tim Smyczek, and they are all still in the tournament and are going to start meeting each other soon."
Bailey views tournaments such as the NCB Capital Markets Jamaica Tennis Open Championship as vital to the development of the sport locally.
PROMOTING THE SPORT
"Our mission at Tennis Jamaica is to develop and promote the sport of tennis," Bailey stated. "This is just one of the avenues we use to do that. Apart from that, we view this as a major component, in that the younger tennis players coming up can see tennis first hand, directly right here in Jamaica. Many of them would not be able to do that unless they travelled to a major event, so it is just part of the puzzle."
Manager of corporate client services at NCB Capital Markets, Kerry Spencer, affirmed her company's commitment to the development of tennis.
"The intention is for us to be in it for the long haul," Spencer said. "Of course, every year after each event we will go back and we will assess to see the benefits and the cost to us ... and once we see that it is giving us our intended purpose of sponsorship then we will continue to do it."