Blta Nationals: Players Refuse To Play In Main Draw


Senior Sports Reporter


PLAYERS collectively took a stance on Wednesday and refused to play the opening round of the main draw of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s Giorgio Baldacci Tennis Nationals, claiming their displeasure in the way the seeding was done by the BLTA.

But BLTA president Darnette Weir, who took a lot of heat from the players for refusing to address them as they took their stance at the National Tennis Centre, said everything was done in compliance with the rules previously set for the tournament.

Weir, in an interview with The Tribune, said the players were provided with the information regarding the tournament and there was no objection, nor when the players participated in the first two days of competition on Monday and Tuesday.

“The rules were put in place from the previous administration and nothing has changed,” Weir said. “From the round robin, the top two players in each pool will advance to the main draw. This was the same format that we have been using for the past few years.”

The players, however, maintained that there were some players who were seeded who should not have been and players who should have been seeded and were not.

As a result of what transpired from the first two days of the round robin, the players objected to how they were seeded and refused to play in their opening round matches in the main draw.

Weir said the BLTA board will meet, as they did when the players took the stance, and will make a decision after the players refused to play any of their matches.

“The rules were followed. There’s nothing new. We have been playing under them for the past few years,” she insisted.

“The outcome from the results of the round robin may not have been what everybody wanted them to be, but we followed the rules in place.”

The tournament serves as a qualifier for the BLTA’s selection for both the Davis Cup team for men and the Fed Cup for ladies.

But Weir said once the board meets again, they would advise the players on what course of action they will take.

“I believe everyone took a stance because we believed in what is right,” said Philip Major Jr, who acted as the player liaison in the meeting with the BLTA during the morning.

“We are only trying to establish what is best for all of us moving forward so that we can get the best teams to represent our country.”

Marvin Rolle, the player/captain of the Davis Cup team, who also served as the coach for the Fed Cup team last year, said it’s unfortunate how things turned out.

“It is what it is,” he stated. “I guess things have to be looked at a little differently. I am on the fence because I understand what the players are saying and I also understand what the board is saying. As a board member, I understand what they are saying and as a player, I get what they are saying. So if we can all come to an agreement and go on from there, we can move forward.”

Former BLTA president Derron Donaldson, now the secretary general of the Bahamas Olympic committee, tried to intervene, but he claimed that after he went into the meeting with the BLTA, he was told by Weir that his views were not appreciated. “I think there was a loss of translation in this tournament,” Donaldson pointed out. “In the past, the players were only allowed to play by invitation.

“So that eliminated anyone who was considered a talented player and they didn’t have any adult standards or ranking to be invited. So when I was the president, we decided to have a qualification and the top players would go directly to the main draw.”

Donaldson was of the opinion that had the BLTA placed the top players directly into the main draw and seeded them according to their status and allowed the younger players to participate in the qualifying round, the BLTA would not have to go through this process.

“Mistakes are made all the time. I just think the BLTA board is lacking in maturity to handle situations like this,” he stressed. “We have a lot of new people, including parents who have children involved in tennis, but there’s nothing wrong with consulting with persons who have the knowledge of how the tournament should run.

“The board does have the final say in making rules, but because of these rules, which they are not willing to correct, they have a revolt from the players. That should have never happened. In an organization or federation like this, the athletes come first. So I would have liked to see the president come out and meet with the athletes, resolve it and move on.”

Donaldson said he was totally disappointed in the actions of the board and the president in particular, who refused to take any constructive advice from him.

To counteract what was said and done, Weir said the rules were set and the BLTA will stick with them unless the board reverses the decision when they meet again.

One parent, Stephen Thompson, another former executive of the BLTA, provided a suggestion that the BLTA can utilize in the tournament moving forward.

“The round robin should be used for players to get into the main draw, not to based rankings points off for the main draw,” he stated.

“There’s no way in the world you would have someone who made it to the main draw with ATP points, who is a former Davis Cup or Fed Cup player, who is ranked lower than someone who advanced out of the round robin because they got wins on walk-overs.”

Thompson said the international rankings should supersede any national or tournament rankings. He said what the BLTA did with the main draw is making a mockery of the tournament.

“I don’t understand that,” he summed up.

Based on the two days of competition in the round robin, the main draw had Kevin Major Jr seeded number one on the men’s side, followed by Donte Armbrister, Jody Turnquest and Philip Major Jr.

One of the reasons the players refused to accept the draw was the fact that Kevin Major Jr, Spencer Newman, Justin Lunn and Philip Major Jr, all Davis Cuppers, along with Shannon Francis, were all placed at the top half.

In the bottom half were Donte Armbrister, Jody Turnquest, Kofi Bowe, Archie Burrows, Marvin Rolle and Jacobi Bain. With the exception of Turnquest and Rolle, Davis Cuppers, all of the others were players who were players who should have played in the round robin.

On the women’s side, Kerrie Cartwright and Sydney Clarke were the only two seeded players. Danielle Thompson and Sierra Donaldson, who played on the Fed Cup team were not seeded.

In this case, there was a possibility that Cartwright and Thompson, who played in the final of the tournament last year, could end up clashing in the second round of the main draw.

Weir said based on the performances of the players in the round robin, whether they played and won their matches, or they won by walk overs, which gave them scores of 6-0, 6-0, they ended up seeding the players and placed them in the draw.

She indicated that the main draw was not compiled by her, but really the tournament director along with two board members. She noted that three players as well as two parents were also present to ensure that the process went smoothly on Tuesday.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

Another "national" sports association in free fall ............. Remember the glory days when we were in Caribbean Zone 1??? ............ Now we playing in Zone 3 almost every year.

But these tennis execs are still looking for Treasury money while wasting time quibbling over petty foolishness like seeding. These "bougie Nassau people" wasting taxpayers' money while many islands do not even have a tennis court or a teacher/instructor ......... But they proud to say they represent The Bahamas.


Sign in to comment