The LUCELEC / ECFH Inter-School Tennis Tournament got underway on Monday at thhe National Tennis Centre in Beausejour, Gros Islet.
Organisers say that 155 student athletes from 13 schools are involved in this year’s competition.
That’s a reduction from last year’s numbers, due to a number of factors, from lack of communication to impending exams to difficulties organising transportation.
But some schools are also taking part for the first time, an encouraging sign for the development of the sport.
Specifically, the Saint Lucia Tennis Association has been conducting a grassroots programme in several primary schools in the north of the island, four of whom – Monchy, Dame Pearlette, Grande Riviere and Gros Islet – are competing in the week-long tournament.
Six secondary schools are also entered. Teams are competing in the 10 & under, 12 & under, 14 & under, 18 & under and tertiary divisions.
Organisers says that the tournament format is based on the Davis cup format where team play is encouraged.
In the 10 & under category, the kids are playing timed tennis, under the mini tennis format used all over the world currently.
The 12 & under event features bright up-and-coming young stars like Maxx William and Rishon Daniel from Dame Pearlette.
Matches for 12’s and 14’s are played in a short set format – first to four games in the first two sets, and a super tie break to decide the third set, if needed.
For 18’s and tertiary students, they are playing best of three regular sets to decide their matches.
On Monday in the girls 14’s St Joseph’s Convent – led by Natanya Faissal – defeated Corinth Secondary, winning both singles matches and losing the doubles.
Leon Hess Comprehensive, featuring Meggan William, unfortunately got a forfeit in their scheduled match against Micoud Secondary.
In the boys 14’s St Mary’s College beat Corinth Secondary 3-0, Adriel Bousquet and Nathan Francis winning their singles matches in a convincing manner and sweeping the tie by taking the doubles match.
SMC next plays Castries Comprehensive. Bonne Terre Prep, with Zack DuBoulay and the Xavier brothers, got the best of Leon Hess Comprehensive 3-0 and then International School St. Lucia 3-0.
Bonne Terre will next face Vide Boutielle Secondary whilst LHCSS takes on the boys from International School.
In the girls 18’s the powerful St Joseph’s Convent, including Jayda Hunte and Suraby Gupta, beat Corinth Secondary 3-0, whilst Castries Comprehensive were 3-0 winners over Leon Hess Comprehensive.
St Mary’s College were winners again in the boys 18’s as they beat LHCSS 3-0.