By RENALDO DORSETT
THE BAHAMAS Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), in conjunction with one of the top tennis coaches in the country, is in the infant stages of establishing an event they hope will revolutionise the development of the sport at the junior level.
Dentry Mortimer is currently in the second week of his seven-week Tennis Summer Camp which is being hosted at the National Tennis Centre.
“Right now our main objective is to make the public aware of the tennis camp and how training is conducted to produce world-class tennis athletes,” said Mortimer, who also serves as the vice president of the BLTA and director of Junior Development Bahamas.
The camp runs 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday - there is a weekly fee - and is open to players starting as young as four years of age.
Approximately 15 campers turned out for the opening week and that number grew to beyond 20 yesterday.
“We think this has the potential to be one of the best things to happen for our junior tennis players in a while. For us to get better in terms of their development, these players need top of the line coaching as much as they can get it and they need the repitition of playing the game the right way very early on,” Mortimer said.
“The players have responded very well to it in the early stages and in just a week you can see some of the improvements in their games, so over time you can get an idea of how much they can develop after weeks of training in this environment.”
Mortimer recently completed his first appearance as Davis Cup team captain where he led the team of Marvin Rolle, Rodney Carey Jr, Philip Major Jr and Jody Turnquest.
“The camp serves all purposes from the beginners to the more advanced players. We have some of our elite juniors. We have many up and coming players out here just looking to get better and some of our other players who have had international experience like Treajh Ferguson, Gabriella Donaldson and a number of others, so it’s really beneficial to your game no matter what level of tennis you play,” Mortimer said.
“We needed a way to make this level of coaching more accessible and available to a wider selection of Bahamian players. I have trained and coached at some of the premier tennis academies in the United States and to get this kind of training for an extensive period over the summer months can be quite expensive, so this is a way to bring that same level of teaching to these players.”
Mortimer is assisted at the camp by a number of notable coaches and players, including Jamal Adderley, one of the country’s top junior players and a member of the University of South Florida Bulls tennis team.