If you are a tennis player of club standard and above and are looking for a holiday that combines playing tennis with the opportunity to meet a whole new circle of friends, why not sign up for The Barbados 10å‘s, a Veterans doubles tennis festival now in its fourth successful year.
Held from November 22 - December 2, the Barbados 10’s is supported by The Barbados Tourism Authority and staged in conjunction with The Barbados Lawn Tennis Association. It is open to all those lady players who are aged 40 and above and gentlemen who are aged 45 and above. The Festival will combine tournament play, social tennis and coaching clinics - all with conviviality to the fore!
All matches are doubles matches - Mens, Ladies and Mixed - and there are two age parameters - Intermediate and Seniors. You don’t have to have a playing partner in place to join the party - the organisers will find a suitable partner for you. Games are decided by the first team to win 10 games.
Tournament Director, Michael Heal, has been going to Barbados since 1968 and knows the island as well as anyone. He has a good working knowledge of the relative standards of both the Bajan and touring players ( the entry form asks you to put down your rating ) and so he is able to organise games between doubles teams of roughly equal standards.
What makes this festival so different from most of the others is the opportunity to play against the local tennis players as well as the touring party. The itinerary is such that after flying out to Barbados on Virgin Atlantic on the Friday, you play two matches against local teams on both the Saturday and the Sunday of that very first weekend. With a beach barbecue party arranged at The Royal Barbados Yacht Club after the completion of matches on the first two days, the timetable is designed to enable you to meet as many of the local players as possible in those first few days.
Headquarters is the Grand Barbados Hotel, situated on the south coast and selected because it not only has a superb beach but is just a few minutes walk from the tennis courts at the Yacht Club and Ocean View Tennis Centre. The other venues used will be The National Tennis Centre, a short trip on the Barbados Olympic Association bus and the marvellous new facilities at Sugar Hill, designed by David & John Lloyd.
Although there is the opportunity to play plenty of tennis it would be a missed opportunity if members of the party did not have the chance to explore all the attractions that Barbados has to offer. Consequently the tennis programme has been scheduled so that you play two matches either in the morning or late afternoon/early evening to give you the time to enjoy Barbados itself. There will also be free days for participants to explore the more remote parts of the island and to visit other islands in the Caribbean.
Temperatures will be in the late seventies and early eighties during the day but on the south coast, where most of the tennis will take place, there is usually a cooling breeze that comes off the ocean to keep things very pleasant. So near to the ocean are you at both the Yacht Club and Ocean View that you can see and hear the sea while you are on court.
Testimony to just how enjoyable the trip is can be measured by the numbers who have returned for either a second or even third time. Jenni Skinner, a Bajan now based in Birmingham, has been on the trip on the last two occasions and combines playing tennis with the opportunity to meet up with members of her family who still live in Barbados. The first year Jenni won the Mount Gay Rum Award for the most convivial member of the party and last year she was the most improved player.