Barbados’ number one rated road tennis star Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith is anxious to get back on the court.
Griffith, one of the most consistent and dominant players in the sport over the last decade, said he was looking forward to playing some form of road tennis, even if it was sometime later this year.
The right-hander who has stung many rivals on the court with his road tennis racquet over the years including veterans Julian ‘Michael Jackson’ White and Antoine ‘Lil Man’ Daniel, told Barbados TODAY he had to adjust his training during this time.
“My day-to-day routine has changed significantly being that I was not able to train as I usually would because we were on lockdown for 24 hours. Only recently have we been given the time where we could now go to the beach and that has allowed me to do a bit of training in the mornings.
“Before that, I was home using my gym equipment and just knocking on the wall to some form of rhythm. I would work out Monday to Friday and then Saturday’s I would do active rest on the stationary bike and do cycling for 45 minutes, “ Griffith said.
Coached by his father Mark Griffith Sr. and Emmerson King, Griffith had his focus on the Silver Hill road tennis tournament which was scheduled to start during the first week of the national curfew. This year’s showdown was one he had in mind having lost over the past two years.
Last year Griffith was knocked out during the semifinal round, as Daniel emerged victorious against White in the final.
The grand cash prize for this year’s Silver Hill tournament was also raised from BDS$5, 000 to BDS$7, 000. Griffith said: “I was in full training mode for that particular tournament because I haven’t won it for the past two years. So, I decided I was going to put in the work this year and this time around being that I have three titles and the two closest of my rivals are Jackson and Lil Man and both of them have two each. So by not wanting them to catch me, I decided this year I was going to put in the work.”
Also, as defending champion for Monarchs of the Court, Griffith said since there was no tournament in 2019, this year he was preparing to repeat.
In addition, among his plans for 2020, Griffith was also expected to make a couple of appearances with the Professional Road Tennis Association of Barbados. However, those overseas travels are now cancelled because of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.
On his list of places to tour before the cancellation were Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America, Asia and Europe.
As a professional, Griffith earns a living through road tennis and therefore is among those athletes feeling the financial setback from COVID-19.
“Everyone knows that I use my road tennis money to invest in small businesses and other little ventures. And this year I was really looking forward to capitalizing on upcoming tournaments. For me last year there weren’t many A class tournaments that I was eligible to play in so I had to dip into some of my savings,” Griffith explained.
He added: “But I have also put things in place in case of an emergency like this but no one likes to miss out on the opportunity of making money. And for me road tennis is a business, so for me, this is a major blow.”
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