Organizers of the Bjorn Munroe Junior Tennis Championships were left feeling optimistic about the growth of the tournament after the success of it’s second annual event.
The budding local junior tennis championships took place at the YMCA, June 7-9 and champions of the men’s singles, women’s singles, boys 12 and Under singles and Open Co-Ed singles were crowned that Saturday and Sunday.
Jacobi Bain was crowned champion of the men’s singles division after he defeated Rodney Carey, in three sets (2-1). Carey won the first set 6-4 over Bain, but the eventual champion bounced back with 6-0, and 6-2 victories over Carey.
In the women’s singles championship, Isabelle Porter defeated Abigail Simms by a final score of 2-0. Porter took the first set over Simms, 6-1, and finished the job with a 6-0 victory in the second set.
Jerrald Carroll went on to defeat Khai Rees in the boys 12 and Under championship. Carroll eventually ousted Rees by a final score of 2-0. The 12 and Under champion was victorious in the first set, 6-2, and later defeated Rees again, 7-5 to close out that match.
The Open Co-Ed championship went to the pair of Bain and Simms. The duo defeated the team of Porter and Anthony Cassini, 2-0 (6-1; 6-2).
Bjorn, who the tournament is named after, is just one of the many successful tennis pros to come out of Grand Bahama and has become committed to ensuring junior tennis players on the island continue to have more playing time by hosting this tournament.
Since he could remember growing up playing the sport of tennis and with players of the past like Rodger Smith and Mark Knowles to look up to, Munroe was driven to make it as far as those two players, as he stated at the tournament’s opening ceremonies on June 7.
“When I was growing up, Mark Knowles but more so Rodger Smith was a big inspiration for me because he was the first person from Grand Bahama to go far on the ATP Tour, played in Grand Slams. Then when I saw him in 1991 or 1992 play Pete Sampras in the third round of the U.S Open that was when I felt I could do that.
“I didn’t quite get that far but I went to 28 countries and I was afforded a number of opportunities...that’s one of the things I let all the Bahamian kids here know that if Rodger Smith can do it, and I can do it then they can do it too. It doesn’t matter if they’re from a small island they just have to have the ability and motivation to go far,” he shared.
Nuvolari Chotoosingh, Manager of Niche Markets at the Ministry of Tourism, one of the major sponsors represented, voiced that the recently held Junior Tennis Championships continues to forward their mission to bring events to Grand Bahama that would be interesting for athletes from around the world.
“The Ministry of Tourism continues to try and attract events to Grand Bahama island that would be interesting for athletes from around the world, especially in the United States, to come to Grand Bahama and expose our young people, in particular our athletes, to the best competition possible.”
As the YMCA’s Executive Director, Karon Pinder-Johnson, shared, the future of the tournament looked bright as the second edition of the tournament welcomed players from different parts of the country and world.
“This tournament is still here today and it’s only just the beginning. Last year it was just BJ’s club and Grand Bahama. This year it’s his club once again, Grand Bahama, Nassau, Turks and Caicos and I’m sure there’s going to be more every year.
“So we need to ensure this tournament continues because our children need to be exposed to different levels of play.
“So on behalf of the YMCA’s board of directors, management, staff and community we thank the Munroe family for being stakeholders in the development of Grand Bahama and this beautiful tournament.”
Tournament coordinator Patrick Munroe later expressed the optimism of where the tournament can go and thanked all the partners involved for ensuring the tournament continued to grow in it’s second year.
“If we see where Wimbledon had started with the three and four entries to what it is today you would be surprised where it came from. And we expect this tournament to grow, maybe not as big, but I’ll tell you it will be effective.
“So we really, really thank those persons who consistently help out, who we can call on and who believe in us. We’re not going to disappoint you as long as we get the support,” he concluded.