9th Annual SXM Jr. Tennis Tournament

On Monday July 12 the St. Maarten Tennis Federation held its opening ceremony for the 9th annual St. Maarten Junior Open tennis tournament.

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This year the summer Caribbean circuit has seen fewer players than customary. Bahamas, Cuba, Aruba, St. Maarten, Jamaica and the Dominican republic all experienced fewer registration. This is due to the economic situation throughout the world. With the high cost of travel and lodging, the players select tournaments that they want to participate in. As St. Maarten is a level 4 tournament, the players receive more points for their matches and therefore more players tend to choose to come and play in this tournament. However, even this tournament did not see its usual participation as this year there are no matches played for the category of girls 14 and under and the boys 14 and under does not have a full draw. The boys and girls 18 & under also did not meet their quota, but did however do better than the other islands in this circuit.

This year the tournament was officially opened by the commissioner of sports and tourism, Commissioner Frans Richardson. The commissioner welcomed all the players, coaches and family of the players to the island and wished the players much success in their matches. Lieutenant Governor Reynold Groeneveldt was also on hand to welcome the players. The Lieutenant Governor also wished the players much success and urged them to maintain sportsmanship and shoot for the stars. Rudy Engel, the tournament director spoke of the opportunities such as scholarship and professional players that come from playing these international youth open tournaments. He praised the Princess Country Club for the refurbished facilities, which offers a more comfortable and enjoyable tennis facility. He also thanked the sponsors that made this year’s tournament possible. He gave a special word of thanks to the Government of St. Maarten, UTS, WIB and NAGICO as the main sponsors and Heavenly Water, B & C Beverages and St. Maarten Supper Foods for supplying water, energy drinks and snacks for the players. He also thanked all the other sponsors that in no small way made the tournament possible. Mr. Rene Ignacia of the Netherlands Antilles Tennis Federation also gave a word of welcome and encouraged the players to maintain a level of sportsmanship and to make use of the opportunity to make new friends. This year, St. Maarten lost 2 of its 14 and under players due to injury suffered while playing baseball and Kim Verschuren will be the only player that represents the island in the girls 18 & under category.

We have some very good players in the category 14 and under boys and girls, who are presently residing in Spain and attending tennis academy there with plans to move back to the island by September. Doctor Mercelina, father of Xavier Mercelina also promised that Xavier whom is presently attending a tennis academy in Belgium will be participating in next year’s tournament.