Tennis/Squash

BLTA wants Futures Tour for Bermuda

  • Andrew Dale is presented the Bermuda ITF Junior Open trophy by BLTA president Michael Wolfe (Photograph by Ben Saunders)

The Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association are aiming to bring an ITF Futures Tournament to the island.

The events are part of th ITF’s Men’s Circuit, which provides the entry level of professional tournaments, enabing players to eventually reach the higher-level tournaments on the ATP World Tour,

“It’s something we’re trying to work on for 2018,” Michael Wolfe, the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association president, said. “There are a lot of negotiations going on for that, but we are hoping to pull that off for next year.

“The Futures Tour is more to the entry level to the pro rankings. You have a lot of the lower-ranked players, top 500, playing in it. It will be an event where will we see a lot of pros coming here.

“It will be an opportunity for Bermuda to show ourselves as a tennis host and it will take us back to what we had with the XL Open, when we used to have that Challenger event here.

“It will also bring excitement back to tennis in Bermuda. The BLTA is looking to get people interested in tennis again, getting people back out on courts. Events like that tend to have that impact.”

Wolfe was speaking at the Bermuda ITF Junior Open, which reached its conclusion on Saturday.

Andrew Dale beat Alexander Kiefer 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in the boys’ singles final in a battle of 15-year-old Americans. However, Kiefer would get a measure of revenge in the boys’ doubles, when he and Jeffrey Fradkin, also from the United States, beat Dale and Benjamin Kittay, another American, 6-3, 6-4.

“The tournament’s been good, despite the weather,” Wolfe said. “We had an impressive turnout of kids and a high level of tennis was played here. It’s good for Bermuda and good for Bermudian kids to see that level of tennis being played here.”

Dale explained how he managed to seal victory in the third set after allowing Kiefer to level the match in the second-set tie-break.

“I changed my mental game,” the Leesburg, Virginia native explained. “I lost the second-set tie-break because I let the points group together, so I started to treat every point individually and not let the previous points affect my play.”

Dale also told The Royal Gazette about life on the Junior Tour.

“It’s a grind, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “We just came from the Dominican Republic, from another ITF event. There’s a lot of travel days and you don’t get a lot of rest and time off, so it’s really important that you take care of your body.

“I do my school online. So after my matches I’ll usually go back to the hotel room and do a few assignments. On my off days I’m really hitting the books. We have not had a great chance to look at Bermuda because of the rain, but we’d like to go to Horseshoe Bay or Tobacco Bay today.”