Toughened resolve for tennis players after Island Games

It was a learning experience for the Cayman Islands tennis team at the recently concluded XVIII NatWest International Islands Games in Gibraltar.

The team returned home without any medals but energised about their future prospects, especially with bracket wins in the men’s singles consolation and the women’s doubles consolation.

Representing the Cayman Islands on the tennis court at the 6-12 July Games were: Lauren Fullerton, Iloana Groak, Jade Wilkinson and Willow Wilkinson in the women’s competition; and Jake Booker, Bernard De Villiers, Daniel Reid, and Callum Theaker on the men’s side.

Theaker, attending his second Island Games, had his eyes firmly set on the podium but a tough draw saw him eliminated in the Round of 32 at the hands of 11th seed, Michael Watkins of Jersey 6-7(9), 7-5, 0-1(10). The third set featured only a tie-breaker.

Reid also fell in the Round of 32, losing in straight sets to Menorca’s 3rd seeded Miguel Alberti-Fuster. Teenager Booker was eliminated in the Round of 64 by Bermuda’s David Thomas.

Despite the setback in the main draw, Theaker went on to win the men’s plate (consolation) draw, defeating Guernsey’s Benjamin Ferbranche 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

In women’s singles, Jade Wilkinson and Lauren Fullerton both advanced to the Round of 16 but were eliminated in straight sets by opponents from Menorca and Guernsey, respectively. Ilona Groak and Willow Wilkinson both lost in the opening Round of 32, with Wilkinson suffering a heart-breaking three-set defeat to Catherine Norland of Aland.

In women’s doubles, both pairs of Jade Wilkinson and Ilona Groak, and Lauren Fullerton and Willow Wilkinson lost in the opening round. As fate would have it, they would meet in an all-Cayman affair in the consolation finals. The younger pair of Fullerton and Wilkinson prevailed 6-1, 7-5.

The men’s doubles competition, De Villiers and Theaker lost in the Round of 16, while Booker and De Villiers lost in the opening Round of 32.

Neither the men’s nor women’s team advanced in the team competition.

Cayman Sports Buzz caught up with some of the team about their experience in Gibraltar.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.