2013 WILANDER ON WHEELS TOUR ROLLS IN ANTIGUATuesday 26th February 2013
The Mill Reef Club was the place to be for tennis lovers as seven-time Grand Slam tennis Champion Mats Wilander rolled through on the opening of his 2013 Wilander On Wheels tour last week.
Wilander and coaching partner Cameron Lickle played an exhibition doubles match against former national champions Jerry Williams and Carlton Bedminister following drills with Mill Reef Club members.
The Grand slam champion who made history by becoming the youngest player to win his fourth title at the age of 20 prevailed with his partner over the home-town champs, winning 6-3.
Wilander held serve in the opening game of the match losing just on point and the visitors never looked back as they cruised to victory in the exciting one set affair.
In addition to tennis camp for club members and the exhibition game, the former champion entertained the top young national players in an ‘unforgettable’ drill session.
“This is a great sport for young people because it teaches them like skills and will add to their experiences as players,” said the seven time champion who won three French, three Australian and one US Open titles from 1982 to 1988.
“It felt good hitting with a player like Mr. Wilander who is a seven-time grand slam winner,” said Cordel “CJ” Williams jr. one of the players to watch for the future.
A leftie with tremendous talents Williams, the son of coach, Cordel Williams added that being in the company of Wilander was extremely inspiring.
“The drills were not very different from those that dad teaches us but just to be hitting with a world famous player made me feel like I could be just as good if I worked hard.”
D’Jeri Raymond, probably the most celebrated female in recent times, who rose to the top of the junior rankings as an under 14 player a year ago, echoed similar sentiments.
“This was a very good experience,” she said.
“To get a compliment from Cameron (Lickle) who told me that I was a good player was mostly encouraging.
“I was impressed with their (Wilander and Lickle) fitness levels, which means that if I want to improve I must work a lot harder on my fitness and I intend to do just that.”
Though just 14 years of age, Raymond will be completing her secondary education and looking ahead to university, and hoping for a tennis scholarship where she can take her game to the next level.
Wilander told the media that he was thrilled to be at Mill Reef.
“When we arrived I had the pinch myself realizing that we are in such a beautiful place.
“We did not come on wheels and I was thinking that we had to change the Wilander on Wheels to Wilander on Wings or Water but the WOW still remains intact,” he said jokingly.
The Mill Reef Club continues to aid in the development of young tennis players and works alongside the Antigua & Barbuda Tennis Association in that effort.
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