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Wesley Rolle Invitational gets underway today

The inaugural Wesley Rolle Doubles Invitational is set to get underway today at the Racquet Club at Baha Mar and wraps up on Sunday. It gets underway at 6 p.m. today and will feature players 35 years and older.

The tournament is named after Rolle, who died in February of this year. He was a former president of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), serving from 2007 to 2009. He also served as the facility manager of the BLTA’s National Tennis Center and was also a coach.

The tournament will feature a men’s, women’s, and mixed divisions. According to the main draw that was held at 1er Cru Nassau on Wednesday, 46 doubles teams have signed up.

One of the organizers of the event, Ken Kerr, said they are putting on the tournament to honor Rolle’s legacy.

“We are a group of tennis enthusiasts and players who love the sport of tennis. We are also a group of people who were intimately touched by Wesley Rolle. We will be celebrating National Heroes Day and we thought that it would be a fitting opportunity to recognize a national tennis hero. We thought it would be good to have a fun doubles tournament which he advocated for,” Kerr said.

He added that they had to turn some people away as they met their maximum number. He is also participating in the tournament and is looking to win.

Tourney Director Kevaughn Ferguson said that he was surprised at the turnout and he is looking to see the level of play.

“I am hoping to see everyone have a good time. It is good to see the older players have the opportunity to showcase their talents. It is great to have them. Doubles is more social, fun and tactical,” Ferguson said.

Playing in the women’s and mixed doubles is Shena Bowleg. For her, she knew Rolle from tennis and she said he was a great help to her in the sport.

“It was a no-brainer for me. When it was being planned to have an invitational in Rolle’s honor, I was one of the first persons on board to help organize it,” Bowleg said.

She is ready to hit the courts at Baha Mar and has been resting up a little to be able to play the rounds over the weekend.

Leonardo Braynen, who is attached to the Harold Road Tennis Club, was also coached by Rolle. He is playing in both men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

“I expect to have a good partnership. They complement me in terms of their shot placement and selection. We play off of each other. I am looking to make the final and win in both divisions,” he said.

Kerr and his team are looking at staging this event annually given the overwhelming support they have received.