Friday, April 19, 2024

Top tennis players caught up in Dream


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The dream of returning to Barbados was all it took to attract the world’s best tennis players.
Executive director of the Dream Cup Kodi Lewis said the one of a kind opportunity to win a five-year stay at St Peter’s Bay worth US$500 000 proved the tipping factor that sold the four top 20 men’s players on appearing in the challenge event.
“It’s just the uniqueness of it,” Lewis said of the grand prize for the event which will be staged on November 29 and 30 at the Wildey Gymnasium and on December 1 at the Sugar Hill courts.
“And of course this being Barbados, if you give the players an excuse to come back they will come back [so] we wanted to be a little creative because it’s hard to come up with cash.
“We want to give them something that they can use and they’re playing for a prize only Barbados can offer. That’s the appealing part of it to the players and makes our event that much more unique,” he added.
Lewis was making the remarks during yesterday’s launch of the Dream Cup, which managed to attract two-time Grand Slam champ Andy Murray, former US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Almagro.
It’s not the first time Barbados has been able to entice top level talent to play in the country as the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, and former women’s No.1s Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki have appeared in two editions of the Tennis Pon de Rock festival.
However, Lewis hinted two years ago that those festivals could not continue to attract the world’s best under their exhibition format, and thus pushed to rebrand the event as a challenge tournament offering an appealing grand prize.
“It’s a great event because it combines the offseason feel of trying to relax with competitive tennis, [and] they love that combination because they can relax and still train leading up to the new season,” Lewis said.
“A lot of the time when you’re on tour you only get to see courtside and the hotel, so being able to relax and visit the island is a real bonus,” Almagro added via a Press release.
ESPN has signed on for six years to exclusively air the matches live across the world.
Even former men’s No.1 and onetime Roland Garros champion Juan Carlos Ferrero has committed to being a part of the event as a mere spectator, having notified the organizers of his intent via email.

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