President of the Professional Road Tennis Association (PRTA) Dale Clarke states that the association is hopeful to have a major tournament take place this year despite setbacks due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government-enforced restrictions earlier this month after another outbreak of COVID-19 cases have delayed the plans of the PRTA to launch a major tournament.
“We are preparing for a major tournament once the Government has given permission to host it. Postponing to next year is an option but one we would like to avoid because there has not been a major tournament in the last two years,” Clarke told Barbados TODAY during a telephone interview today.
The plan for this year’s 2021 schedule was to host a tournament inclusive of the island’s best male and female players in both the senior and junior categories in order to maximise the hype which had been built up across the island prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the challenges to hosting the competition has been maintaining sponsorship, due to several businesses struggling financially in the current COVID-19 climate. When questioned on the contingency plans in place to rectify the situation, Clarke said: “We’ve got to be a bit innovative and creative to find ways to get some funds coming in the sport. We look forward to continuing our relationship with our sponsors in these challenging times and hope that we can maintain the standard of tournaments in the future.”
Barbadian road tennis star Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith is one of those players scheduled to take part in the tournament should it take place and he is anxious to get back on the court. The right-handed road tennis player told Barbados TODAY he has been looking forward to competing again.
“I miss hearing that crowd, I miss that energy. You know the fans there shouting, not just for me but for the others as well. I just want to get back on the court as quickly as possible but at the end of the day I want it to be in a safe environment where everyone could come and be a part of it as well.”
The proposed road tournament is scheduled to take place in October 2021.