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HomeNewsLocal newsSt. Croix Athletes Shine in First ITF Tennis Masters Competition

St. Croix Athletes Shine in First ITF Tennis Masters Competition

The first-ever ITF Masters Tennis Competition was held on St. Croix this past weekend (submitted photo)

Tennis players from around the world convened this past weekend at the Carambola tennis facility to participate in the territory’s first-ever International Tennis Federation (ITF) tennis tournament.

Played on the island of St. Croix, this four-day tournament featured singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in 19 different age categories from 30+ to 70+. Players from Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Denmark, United States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands including NCAA Division 1 National Champions were in attendance.

“The ITF tournaments allow players to compete on a different level with the ability to score points to obtain a ranking in the ITF world ranking system,” said Tournament Director Andre Brady, who is top-ten ranked on the ITF Masters Tour. Brady added that Master Tour events, like the one just completed on St. Croix, are organized around the world with April tournaments already on the calendar in Germany, Spain, Trinidad Tobago, India, Turkey and Canada, among others.

St. Croix athletes took 12 of the titles in the 19 age groups competing (submitted photo)

The St. Croix ITF Masters tournament was endorsed by the Virgin Islands Tennis Association (VITA), the ITF and the ATA Presidential Tennis Circuit, and had been in the works for months.

“This was a historic sporting event in the Virgin Islands, as no ITF tournament has ever been played here so we are very happy with the tournament and the support of all players, especially our international guests,” says Kelly Kuipers, VITA President. Kuipers worked closely with St. Croix event coordinator Jay Craft in spearheading this event with the plan to bring more ITF events into the Virgin Islands.

St. Croix players made an impressive run in the historic inaugural event, taking 12 of the titles in the 19 age groups competing. Winning titles were:

  • Men’s 30+ singles – Hermit Bannis, Jr.
  • Women’s 30+ singles – Loriann Laugle
  • Mixed Doubles 30+ – Bannis & Laugle (upsetting the #1 seeds from PR)
  • Men’s 40+ singles – Patrick Gilbert (upsetting the #1 seed from the US)
  • Men’s 45+ singles – Stephen Wagner
  • Men’s 45+ doubles – Stephen Wagner and Kevin Motta
  • Women’s 45+ doubles – Zandra Ramtahal and Lorelie Highfield
  • Men’s 50+ singles – Jay Craft
  • Men’s 50+ doubles – Jay Craft and Carlos Baez from USA
  • Women’s 55+ singles – Barb Robbins
  • Women’s 55+ doubles – Pat Bishop and Sibyl Jones from USA

The four day event was hosted by the Carambola Tennis Association.

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