Without a title Guyana was outstanding at Tennis IGG

Although the national tennis team performance at the recently concluded Tennis Inter Guiana Games (IGG) may seem subliminal to those who were not present at the event, it was absolutely the opposite as fortune was not on the Guyanese side, and besides, they found themselves in an unfamiliar territory to the latter stage of the tournament.tennis

The lads from the Land of Many Waters were at their best for the first two days after a trip from their homeland for the better half of two days which also included an overnight stop in Suriname. Nevertheless, the initial display from the Guyanese was ruthless as they remained competitive on the first two days.

However, in an unfamiliar territory the Guyanese were shattered on the final day (the third day) as they surrendered 13 of their eighteen matches to eventual champions Martinique. That was after they draw with Suriname 9-9 on the opening day and lost to the host 8-10 on the second day and was still in contention of winning their first IGG title heading into the ultimate day.

The Guyanese usually play most of their tennis in extended periods, but playing singles and doubles matches on three successive days was always going to be tough. And it was evident on the third day as most of them seem fatigued. However, they were not alone as several players from the other teams seem exhausted as well.

Overall the Guyanese performance should receive an 80% rating for their effort. First they went there with little preparation due to the unavailability of facilities to train. Then they took almost two days travelling, before the opening ceremony and games started less than 20 hours after their arrival (this was in keeping with the GLTA’s budget). Next they had to adapt quickly to a bouncier surface in an enclosed playing area which in most parts is different to the facilities in Guyana. Each players also had two matches per day and a short time to rest before the next day. The 20% they missed were due to their personal lapses and inability to analyze their game. Withstanding the challenges Guyana had proud moments to cherish. Nicola Ramdyhan in her final year of IGG was outstanding, winning all her singles and doubles matches to finish on six wins from as many matches and was the best Guyanese player on show. 16 year old Afruica Gentle was also in ripping form but surrendered one match to her French Guiana counterpart in the girls’ under-18 singles.

Ramdyhan and Gentle led the girls’ charge as they went on to win the girls’ under 18 without dropping a set.

Apart from Ramdyhan and Gentle, Sarah Klautky was level with her peers from the other countries until her last single match where she showed fatigue and frustration. There are room for improvement for Akilah Jones, Ciara Pooran and Kalyca Fraser and it is simple, if they could manage to win matches without utilizing the area of the court then if they are mobile they will be forces to reckon with.

Meanwhile the boys’ in each category for Guyana were younger than their opponents thus lacked experience and tactics. Within years they all are expected to grow into top players but need to do the necessaries for this to be manifested. They were very competitive on the first day but lost momentum on the following days. I do believe they should have won more matches especially in the doubles division.

The tournament was well organized by the French authorities, occurring in a timely manner between 8:30 hours and 20:00 hours. There were no disruptions and the French Tennis League would have been boosted by several business entities including Air France to make the tournament possible.

The Guyanese contingent was also intact from the time they assemble at the parking lot of the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel until they returned to the said spot. Kudos to the executives of the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association, which is headed by Jamal Goodluck, for their internal preparations and organising.

Coaches Shelly Daly Ramdyhan and Orande Dainty must be commended for their hard work and the level of competition shown by the players. They certainly made good use of the little resources that were available.

Judging from the Guyanese performance at the Tennis IGG it adds to my opinion that we are a talented set of people whose talents are not nurtured due to the lack of external support. The Boards, Federations or Associations could only do what they can afford but there are needs for Government and corporate Guyana’s intervention or else we will forever be at the bottom of the ladder in terms of sport.

Through tennis the GLTA contributes to the growth of Guyana as it charge itself to at least gets scholarships for the players under its umbrella. Imagine what more they can do with Government and corporate Guyana’s support.

Guyana will host the Tennis IGG next year, I am hopeful by that time there are facilities available for the national team to train as well as better playing facilities to host competition.