After an exhibition game on Saturday evening, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Tennis Open curtains came down with the winners receiving their trophies on the lawns of the GBTI Sports Club. Addressing the gathering were CEO of GBTI John Tracey, who was a past tennis player and executive of the tennis association, and Christopher Ram, President of the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA).
Tracey expressed delight with the way the tournament was run especially with the large numbers of participants competing.
According to a release from the GLTA, Tracey stated that GBTI does not sponsor sports to get mileage out of it but views it as part of their corporate responsibility to the community and for the development of youths. On the other hand, he pointed out that the bank was in the finishing phases of its new tennis courts at the Diamond branch, East Bank Demerara, which will be made fully available to the public. Ram, in his address, expressed his association’s gratitude to GBTI for its continued interest in the development of tennis. He also took time to urge the tennis community to ensure the sport becomes a national sport, which is also the goal of the GLTA. He registered some disappointment with the slow pace in areas out of Georgetown where the GLTA has provided equipment to elevate the sport.
He encouraged clubs to be more proactive and to help with the hosting of tournaments that can be pulled off with the help of the Guyana Tennis Coaches Association and the GLTA. Further, he said that it is important that players show a willingness to become involved in umpiring, calling of lines and other administrative responsibilities which will also help raise the standard of the sport.
The president however expressed satisfaction that the majority of the top players were below age 25 and therefore this “provides hope for a high quality of tennis for years to come”. According to Ram, it is a reflection of the “considerable resources which have been put into the junior development programs over the years”.
Tracey also reiterated the importance for everyone to participate even if their playing in the tournament does not result in them always winning. He reflected on his battles in the past where he could not defeat current veterans Duane Lopes, Carlos Adams or Harry Panday but nevertheless enjoyed the participation.
Tournament coordinator Andre Lopes concluded that the tournament was one of the best in years as it attracted all the top players and the winner Anthony Downes could be duly recognised as the best player in the country at the moment. He also thanked all involved especially the manager at the GBTI Sports Club, Steve Geer, for being a gracious host over the last three weeks. Men’s Champion Anthony Downes was unavoidably absent due to illness.