BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
Sports and charity go hand in hand, a testament to the athletes that dedicate their hard work and efforts in more ways than one, playing hard, and giving back.
Down in the islands, sports are a highly regarded profession, strength and power proceeds many reputations, and also the dedication to generously contributing back to the land where they were born and raised.
Karl Hale, current director for the Rogers Cup, is a well-known name in the tennis big leagues, playing the Davis Cup for Jamaica for ten years. He serves on the board for the PTR one of the largest tennis coaching organization worldwide, the TPA, Canada’s tennis coaching organization and is the Director of Racquet Sports at the prestigious Donalda Club in Toronto. Born in Jamaica, Karl is a family man, partaking in many philanthropic activities to aid the Jamaican community. He is committed to giving back to his country, teaming up with other like-minded individuals to rally together and fundraise for causes that will change the futures for many living in poverty in the Caribbean.
This year Karl has teamed up with the Merchant of Tennis to launch the Caribbean Cup Tennis Series (CCTS) an exciting, and much-anticipated event comprised of six masters tournaments in Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Cayman, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Year End Championships in Curacao.
The launch was held on the evening of February 8th in Leaside, with over 100 people in attendance, and raised over $10,000 for the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation (HHJF) towards building another school in Port Antonio.
Founded by Karl, HHJF was created with the intention of increasing accessibility to local grade schools regardless of where kids in Jamaica live, building upon the next generation of educated and contributing citizens.
Since being established, more than 4,000 Jamaican children have been provided schools, creating an impressive education system through investments in infrastructure and resource materials. Each school costs approximately 60-70k to build and requires as many as fifty volunteers living inside and out of Jamaica to come together and help complete a build.
A few celebrities were in attendance at the CCTS launch, including former world Kickboxing Champion Joe Valtellini, former squash world #1 and world champion Jonathon Power and Dwight Drummond from CBC. The Honorable Fitzroy Huggins consul general of the St. Vincent and Grenadines made a speech welcoming the newest event in the series.
The events will feature junior and adult events with players from Canada and around the world along with exhibitions that have in the past few years featured former world #1 Jim Courier, Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli and many others.
“Our calendar has yielded strong results for the series over the past three years, attracting record audiences and leading to more exposure and added events.” Karl Hale, CCTS President says. “We’re pleased to share the 2018 calendar as we look to continue the sustainable growth that has underpinned the Series over the past three years.”
The Caribbean Cup Tennis Series tournament schedule will feature 6 masters tournaments, 14 series tournaments, in 7 countries, with 1,500 athletes, and one Year End Championship throughout the Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and Grenadines).
The 2018 calendar offers a continuation of the existing tournament structure and schedule that, since 2015, has so successfully served as a global platform for the Caribbean’s greatest junior and professional tennis players, leading to record growth for the series, tournaments, and players over the past three years.
The announcement of the 2018 calendar comes on the back of a record-breaking year for the CCTS in 2017. More than 5 million U.S. economic impact, improved facilities, over 1,000 participants, world-class ATP pro’s visiting the Caribbean and over 5 million engagement in media and charitable efforts that include supporting school build in Anguilla.
The tournaments within the CCTS series concentrate on the: Local Youth Development, Caribbean Travel, and Charity with each tournament offering participants a chance to challenge top-ranked players from around the globe. A portion of the proceeds raised at each event will be donated to a local charity, whose mission involves promoting the growth of education and development within the Caribbean.
The CCTS features ITF Sanctioned tournaments for both junior and adult players. Each 2018 event will include a pro exhibition match, with past players such as Jim Courier (former #1) and Marion Bartoli (Wimbledon Champion), as well as clinics taught by current pro players and tier-one coaches.
All proceeds from the tournament will go to various local charities including the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation. The tournament promises to deliver a world-class event, drawing people from all over the world. More information on the upcoming CCTS can be found at www.caribbeancuptennis.com.