Road tennis in Barbados is enjoying a boom.
And it is about to get even bigger.
At a media launch today for the second edition of the Massy United Insurance-sponsored Clash Of The Titans Road Tennis Tournament it was revealed that Barbados’ best would be competing for a top prize of $12,000 – the sports biggest ever payday. Additionally, prize money will be spread further into tournament than ever before.
And also for the first time a ranking system will be introduced for the tourney that is expected to attract the likes of Antoine L’il Man Daniel, Anthony Black Dog Richards, Mark Venom Griffith and Julian Michael Jackson White when the first ball is served on November 9 at the Villages, Coverley, Christ Church.
During this morning’s Press conference at Massy United Insurance on Broad Street, St Michael, to launch the tournament, chief executive officer of the Professional Road Tennis Association, Dale Clarke, assured road tennis fans that this year’s clash would be bigger and better than previous competitions.
“Each year we are looking to make the tournament bigger and better. For the first time in road tennis history you have a ranking system where the top forty-five players who played in the last Clash Of The Titans and Monarchs Of The Court competitions have been ranked. We have applied the ATP ranking system to it with [Mark] Griffith ranked at number one and [Antonio] Daniel ranked number two,” Clarke said.
Clarke added: “What we have done this year is increase the reward for the players. Before you used to just get a monetary reward when you got to the semi-finals. In this tournament, you will be receiving money when you lose in the round of sixteen. Each person would get $75 and at the quarter-finals stage the losing quarter-finalist will get $150.”
The format for this year’s tournament will remain the same with the registration fee at $100. According to the president, the numbers for this year’s competition has increased from 32 to 64 which include men, Under-21 and women’s division with the runner-up in the Clash Of The Titans showdown receiving $6,000.
Clarke explained that this year’s tournament would begin with a players’ reception on November 6 at Bagatelle, St Thomas. The semi-finals and final will be played at the popular Ranch on the Spring Garden Highway and the final will be broadcast live via the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
Current Monarch Of The Courts winner Daniel and defending champion of the Clash Of Titans, Griffith, have had a great rivalry on the road tennis circuit and said they would let their tennis rackets do the talking for that all important grand prize.
Daniel told Barbados TODAY since money had been invested into the tournament he was hungry to win and would be going after the big cash come Independence Day.
“I am thankful to Massy for sponsoring this tournament because we were thirsty for money for a long time. Years ago you were just playing for trophies and I got bored of that and that is why I stopped. But some money is coming into it and I am good enough to get some so I will be here. We have a lot of good tennis players in Barbados. They are very good so there is no telling that I will win all the time but on the court they know that I mean war. You have to bring your A game to beat me on that court, you bring it you win,” Daniel said confidently.
Meanwhile, Griffith the youngest ‘A’ class champion at age 30, said he did feel some pressure being the defending champion and especially with the way in which the indigenous sport of Barbados had taken off lately.
“Yes, I do feel increased pressure honestly. Road tennis, to some, it may be a small sport for now but, as you see, it is evolving. For me personally, it takes a lot out of me. I have to train hard and [have had] a lot of sleepless nights.”
However, Griffith said he was ready to defend his title and was looking forward to playing against the veteran Richards who he has never seen play before.
Road tennis has been attracting thousands and the the same is anticipated for this year’s Clash Of The Titans.