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McGregor Calls For More Courts
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Lockett McGregor, one of the directors of Tennis Jamaica, has added his voice to a growing choir, bellowing for the development of proper playing facilities in the country.
McGregor, who is the organiser of this year's Gas Pro Junior Tennis Championships, which was launched at the Liguanea Club on Wednesday, said there is an urgent need for a lot more public tennis courts.
"The game, right now, is not where I personally would want it to be, because there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done, but it is tournaments like these that can afford those opportunities," said McGregor.
"We could do with more facilities, because there is a problem right now in trying to get more public courts for our players to play on," he said. Continuing McGregor said: "A lot of the courts that we have available, like the Liguanea courts, for instance, is a private club, but it is through my initiative why we can have these tournaments here with the support of the chairman of the club."
McGregor, a former national player, added that apart from the national schools' programmes, his association has found it very difficult to develop the sport at a very fast pace because of the lack of proper playing facilities.
"We have lost out on the north coast (courts) because a lot of our juniors who used to develop on the hotels circuit cannot do so anymore," he said. A lot of these hotels are all-inclusive hotels now, but when they weren't all-inclusive hotels, they used to allow the juniors to come in as ball boys, and that was a big feeding tree for us," said McGregor.
"But since the initiative of the all-inclusive now, the kids in Ocho Rios hardly have anywhere to play and the kids in Montego Bay also hardly have anywhere to play, and this has affected the growth and development of our players," McGregor stated.
Meanwhile, over 90 participants are down to compete in this year's National Junior Championships, which will be held from February 11-12 at the Liguanea Club. The participants will vie for trophies in the boys' Under-10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 categories, while girls will compete in the Under-12, 14 and 18 division. In addition to the trophies, the winners in each section will also receive points towards their national rankings.