By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) has identified the month of April and May next year for the possible return of its Antigua and Barbuda Cup Tennis Championships after being forced to cancel the event for two consecutive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President of the tennis association, Cordell Williams, while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, revealed that the body has written to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) seeking to have the tournament placed on their calendar as an Under-18 event for 2022.
“I had booked for us to start the Antigua Cup in April or May of next year, providing that things improve. One of the things ITF is looking at now when you organise these tournaments, is that the players will stay in one resort, in one bubble. Two tournaments had to be cancelled because parents would travel to tournaments and they would go to shopping malls and move around with the children and once one child gets affected by Covid, you’d have to cancel the whole tournament, and that didn’t go down very well with sponsors and people who would have spent monies to go to these tournaments,” he said.
The association was forced to cancel plans in 2020 and also in 2021 to host the event because of the global pandemic.
Williams revealed that a number of junior players are slated to travel for competition at the end of September, a move he said is still dependent on the parents of the players.
“At the end of this this month, there will be an under-12 tournament that we signed up three boys to go to, but one is not going so we are hoping that two would go and the two parents had confirmed that they would send them. It is a struggle, not just for the association but for everybody because while we want players to go, we still have to depend on parents to give the okay and feel comfortable with their children travelling to countries where they might say Covid cases are high,” he said.
The sport, Williams said, has been significantly hampered by the pandemic with the junior players most affected. There has been no competitive tennis played in Antigua since last year.