By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE focus of attention at the National Tennis Centre will switch to the hosting of the fourth edition of the International Tennis Club, featuring some of the top former players from the Bahamas, US, Canada, Barbados and an international team, comprising of players of various nationalities.
The event, which has a motto of ‘Hands Across the Net, Friendship Across the Ocean,’ is being organised by Kit Spencer and will run from Monday to Friday with the Bahamian team led by John Antonas and Kim O’Kelly, former Bahamian Davis and Cup players and captains.
“It’s the fourth biannual event we’re running and we have a pretty strong Bahamian team this time,” Spencer said. “Last year, we were runners-up to a strong United States team, but we feel this team is good enough to win it this year.”
O’Kelly, now residing in Philadelphia with her husband, will headline the Bahamas ladies’ team that will include Sue Kimball, who won the world’s ITF Over-70s doubles title. She was a former teacher here in the Bahamas,
On the men’s side, Antonas will suit up with Neil Mactarrgart, Mas Kimball and Guillaume Bouffard, Spencer and John Farrington. Bouffard, making his debut in the tournament, has been a resident of the Bahamas for a number of years. His father was the former president of the French Club.
The action start at 9:30 am each morning and the format allows for each team to play fourindividual matches - one with each country (four match days and one free day).
The make up of the teams are as follows: Men’s Doubles combined age 105+ and combined age 125+; Ladies Doubles combined age 105+; Mixed Doubles combined age 105+ and combined age 125+. Age is what a player will be by the end of 2017 (ITF standard).
“It’s a senior tournament for people who have been very good tennis players and now we are in those age categories,” Spencer said. “We have John Antonas, former Davis Cup player; Kim O’Kelly, former Fe3d Cup player and Sue is a world champion in doubles in her age group. So we have a pretty strong senior team. We are all very competitive and we play with a good spirit too.”
On Sunday, some of the players will be at the NTC at 2 pm when they will get a chance to not only get in a practice session, but to also provide some competition for the local junior players in the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association to sharpen their game as well.
The players expected to make up the various teams are as follows:
Barbados-Peter Symmonds (Captain), Julie Salomon, Raymonde Forde, Marie Gentle, Ian Gentle.
Caribbean guest Leo Rolle.
USA-Bob Beverley (non-playing Captain), Michelle Williams, Robert Williams, Stuart Chase, Gabriela Chase,
Norma Taylor, Colleen Burns Keenan, Don Keenan, Henry Kennedy, Altomease Kennedy, Chauncey (Chum) Steele and Jolita Kalpokas.
Canada - Peter Clarke (Captain), Owen Pellew, Rob Benneyworth, Fraser & Mrs. Macdonald, Pam Olley, Richard Olley and Dale Kozicz. Possibly Janice Longhurst will join the team.
Interational Team -Joint Captains: Kay Beverley (USA) and Tara Mactaggart (Bahamas/Canada). Birgitte Hostrup (Denmark), Margot Thomson (Canada/Barbados), Bob Beverley (USA), Bruce Moorhead (USA), Habbo De Vere (Holland/Bahamas), Bob Martyn (Canada/Bahamas), Imelda Mehlert
Bahamas -John Antonas (Captain), Neil Mactaggart, Mas Kimball, Guillaume Bouffard, Kit Spencer, Sue Kimball and Kim O’Kelly. Other possibilities - John Farrington, Mark Knowles (!) and Dyphany Mortier.