By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Spiorts Reporter
The Bahamas will be out with basically the same team on the court as they did two years ago when the International Club of the Bahamas hosted the first inter-country tennis doubles tournament at Breezes Superclubs.
The tournament returns to the same venue starting on Monday and the Bahamas team featuring Neil McTaggart (50-plus), captain John Antonas (60-plus), Mas Kimball (60-plus) and Kit Spencer (65-plus) and female players Daphany Mortier (40-plus) and Sue Kimball (60-plus) will be out to improve on their past performance.
The Bahamas will be playing out of the pool made up of international teams Austria and Barbados. The other group will feature the US, Canada, Britain and Belgium.
Action is scheduled to start 8am Monday at Breezes Superclubs. However, the Bahamian team will not start competing until 3pm each day, which would allow players like Mortier and Antonas to get their work done in the day.
Great Britain captured the initial title and Austria was the runners-up. The Bahamas were the third place finishers.
“I’m very happy because originally we did it as a one-off event, but it went so well that everybody asked us to repeat it,” Spencer said. “We said we won’t do it every year, but we will do it in the second year. We had tremendous support with all of the teams coming back, so we are looking forward to a wonderful week. It’s good for the Bahamas tourism with the venue where we are hosting it again.”
Austria is already in town with an 18-member delegation. They will be heading to Harbour Island to see the sights today. The Brits are due to arrive here today, while the other teams will be coming in over the weekend.
The teams will be placed in two groups to play in a round robin format for the first three days. They will relax and enjoy themselves on the fourth day when they will also visit Government House.
On Friday, the top teams in the two groups will cross over to play each other to determine the final placing.
While the countries will be represented by players coming directly from their country, the International Club will comprise primarily of players who have represented their country, won national titles or contributed greatly to the development of tennis, according to Spencer.
He noted that there are 40 IC organisations around the world and their motto is: “Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean.” They encourage inter-country competition for their members and also sponsor an International Junior Challenge for country teams of juniors which takes place on every continent.
The winning junior teams are sponsored to a World Finals the next year, according to Spencer. The Bahamas IC sponsored a team in this junior event four times and will host the North American event next December.
The World Finals for the juniors in 2014 will be at Wimbledon.
“This (senior tournament next week) has proved a very popular event in the IC calendar and we have attracted some strong nation teams again,” Spencer said. “These are experienced players who enjoy keeping up the competition and friendship of international tennis.
“We have a powerful Bahamian team in the event, including many times Davis Cup and Federation Cup players John Antonas and Dyphany Mortier. In the 65 and over category I am the oldest player on our team and am looking forward to competing with some players I have known from much younger days.”
Spencer said the tournament confirms that “tennis is a game for life” where many friendships can be made.
“We will follow the IC motto of ‘Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean’ by including a number of social events for those participating,” he said. “This includes ‘Tea at Government House’ and a special entertainment banquet with a Junkanoo rush-out. We intend to show ‘It is better in The Bahamas’ and a great destination for winter tennis.”
Mickey Williams will serve as the tournament referee.