GAME, SET, MATCH
The Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association in action
The Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association has been overseeing developments on and off the court since 1975, as a not-for-profit affiliate of the International Tennis Federation. It has primarily focused on identifying and nurturing young talent via its schools programme, classes in club settings, competition locally and regionally, and networking to create opportunities for players to go on to university.
Tennis in the region boomed in the 1980’s as all the islands of the British West Indies vied to be
a member of the Davis Cup team. This was done through competition for the ‘Brandon Trophy’. The
Dominant players were selected to play for the British West Indies in the Davis Cup competition. Antigua and Barbuda first played the Brandon series in 1984. Our own Hon. John Maginley was selected on many occasions to be a member of the Caribbean/West Indies Davis Cup team.
ABTA activity peaked in the late 1990s, with Antigua and Barbuda making its Davis Cup debut in 1996 and going on to achieve its best results to date, i.e. 3rd in Group III, in 1997. Nineteen ninety seven (1997) was also the year of Antigua and Barbuda’s Federation Cup debut; with its most notable results realized in 2001 over Barbados.
Notables through the years have included Niki Williams, Isoke Perry, Francine Harvey and Lorna May Lewis – all of whom competed for the Fed Cup; and Philip Williams, Jerry Williams, John Maginley, Carlton Bedminster, Kevin Gardner, and Carl Johnson – all of whom competed for the Davis Cup. During this notable period Antigua was host to FEDCUP in 2000 at the Carlisle Bay Resort.
The Junior Tennis Development Committee (consisting of Patrick Labadie, Charmain Ephraim, Ricky Nanton, Derald Williams, Ferdenand Peters, Richard Alien, Cordell Williams, Eli Armstrong, and Larry Michael) was likely a huge contributor to this period of revival. A subsidiary of the ABTA, it operated from 1993 to 2002 and through programmes at Vikings, Curtain Bluff, Halcyon, and Eli Armstrong, aided the development of youths in the sport, which included the staging of six annual tournaments, each averaging 40 players. Top players – the likes of Kevin Gardner, Mali Richards, Charisma Billings, Niki Williams, and Isoke Perry – went on to participate in international competition. The junior programme also assisted Tara Dean Moore, Fitzroy Anthony, Chrisma Billings, Brian Simon and others in gaining scholarships to American universities. One, Anthony, held the number one spot on his team at St. Thomas University from start to finish (1999).
From 2001, however, there was a cooling off period in terms of tennis’ vibrancy; and things didn’t really start picking up again until 2008 when the ABTA, after being reinstated as an active member of the ITF Tennis
, teamed up with with title sponsor Antigua Computer Technology to host the ITF/COTECC 13-and-Under Development Championships. This tournament saw the best of Antigua and Barbuda’s juniors battle top juniors from 15 nations before going on to hoist the championship cup in victory. Antigua and Barbuda has participated in this tournament every year since.
The current ABTA executive consists of:
Treasurer: Karen Pennyfeather
Tennis in Schools: Richard Elien and Larry Michael
We’ve seen the impact of tennis on our juniors and believe that tennis is for life. As such, we are proud to say that tennis in Antigua and Barbuda continues to strengthen with players of all ages taking to the courts here at home and making strides overseas.
Highlights of recent years include …
- 2008 Chassidy King and Keishora Armstrong selected fortraining camp to Florida.
- 2009-2011 Several of our juniors reached top 10 COTECC ranking ( Chassidy King, Shakir Elvin, Noah Peters & D’Jeri Raymond).
- 2009 Chassidy King selected for regional training camp to Cuba.
- 2010 Shakir Elvin benefited from the GSDF (Grand Slam Development Fund)
- 2011 Antigua & Barbuda placed 3rd 13 & Under Development Championships (Suriname)
- (team included –D’Jeri Raymond Placed 1st, Jevannie Amborse Placed 8th and youngest team member & youngest boys player Cordell Williams jr placed 10th)
Jevannie Ambrose & D’Jeri Raymond Selected for regional training camp to Curacao.
D’Jeri Raymond selected for ITF Grand slam touring team to COSAT.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is the international independent organization created in 1999 to promote, coordinate, and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms.