France can serve us well, says LTA officer

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CILTA officer Hugh Raymond explained: ‘The recent visit of Steven Martens (head of technical support at the LTA) and the encouragement he gave to Andrew Evans to take a small team to France to test the standards and enter a tournament, with the help of the LTA, has proved very successful.

‘The president and deputy mayor of St Malo were there and the deputy said that he was surprised there’s not more sporting events linked between the two places.

It’s not just about tennis, this could open the door for all sports.

‘I’m getting support from head office to look the other way, to France instead of England.

Competition is competition and if it’s on our doorstep then it’s an option as really, it comes down to cost.

‘If the LTA are going to provide funding for us to enter tournaments, and if we can get more people going and using the money, then it’s ideal.

The difference is simply that we could take three children over to England for an event but the same money could allow us to take five children to France.

‘One thing we are always asked about is ratings but if the children competed in France we can work in conjunction with the LTA so they continue to improve their rating.’ Success in St Malo came in the form of trophy wins for Kirsten McArthur and Audrey Bois against tough opposition from Brittany.

McArthur impressed as she adapted excellently to the indoor clay courts to defeat the highly respected Sarah Bernos 6-1, 6-2 in the U18 final, and 6-4, 6-4 in the U16 final to win two titles.

Bois, who Raymond says has shown a dynamic improvement over the last six months, defeated the top seed Ingrid Burcot 6-3, 6-4 to win the U14 honours – having played a staggering nine games to make the final.

Stuart Parker (10) defeated team-mate Alex Temple (9) 6-1, 6-0 in the semi final of the U12s singles but was beaten in the final by the Brittany No 2 Leo Bresson (12) 6-0, 6-1.

James Faudemer bowed out of both the U16 and U18 draw to two talented Bretons.

With various members of the WTA, ITF, and Tennis Europe at the club to assess it for a $100,000 event in April, Raymond, who is hoping to host an ATP $50,000 event in Jersey next year, added: ‘It was an unusual venue and is nowhere near as good as Les Ormes so I think we may be under selling ourselves a bit.

The St Malo event could attract some of the top 50 ranked female players and I think potentially, with the facilities the Island has, the events could be much bigger than we have seen so far.’

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