A near-record 108 tennis players from the U. S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and several U.S. Mainland states will compete in the Choice Wireless VI Open Tennis Tournament, set for Feb. 17-20 and hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club.
There will be a clash of the titans versus the younger kids on the court in the open singles and doubles divisions, which will host three ATP-ranked and three nationally-ranked players. Will Boe Wieggard, of Easton, Connecticut, who won the Men’s Open Single’s title in 2009 and 2010 and turned pro in 2011, and Nick Monroe, from Austin, Texas, winner of this title in 2011 and an eight year pro, are both back making this year’s Men’s Open one of the most hotly contested titles. Monroe’s doubles partner, Artem Sitak, is another of the ATP-ranked players.
“Both Nick and Artem are class acts on and off the courts and I definitely look forward to going to war against both of these guys in Singles and Doubles, as well as hanging out with them off the court,” says Boe Wieggard.
Monroe is ready. “Over the last year, I’ve played a lot of tournaments including the U.S. Open, and played some tough players which have helped my game improve,” Monroe said. “Also, I had great preseason training in Austin with Andy Roddick (former No. 1 ATP-ranked player) all through December, which can only help my game. I’m excited to compete on St. Thomas, and hope to give it my best to win again.”
The three nationally-ranked players are Bradenton, Florida, brothers, teenagers Terrell (the USTA No. 1-ranked 14-year-old in 2008) and Terence Celestine and Dao Brown.
“Terrell and Terence started playing at age nine and Dao at age 13, and they’ve worked very hard at their game, hitting with Venus and Serena Williams and playing other ranked players often” said older brother, Craig Brown. “After training in the U.S. tennis mecca of Florida for the past few years, their goal now is to advance their games with new experiences such as playing out of the country. They are excited to play this tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
Closer to home, three players from St. Croix and two from Puerto Rico will compete in the open division. St. Croix’s Elien Kristopher will play open doubles with STYC tennis pro George Lewis, while Puerto Rico’s Angel Diaz will be returning after playing in this event in 2008 and 2009.
Players can compete in eight divisions in this U.S. Tennis Association (USTA)-sanctioned tournament, including open divisions for both men NTRP ranking 4.5 and above in singles and doubles. The “B” division, for men and women NTRP ranked 4.0 and below, there is singles, doubles and mixed doubles play, as well as men’s over 60 doubles. Play will be best of three sets for all divisions.
Winners in the open division receive a $2000 cash prize, and the runner-up pockets $1000. Winners in the “B” division will get $600. Total prize money amounts to over $13,000. The entry fee of $45 per person for one event or $60 per person for two events includes an event T-shirt, souvenirs and a welcome buffet dinner at the St. Thomas Yacht Club on Feb. 18.
Matches will take place on courts at the STYC, the host location for Semi-Finals and Finals play, as well as at the Sugar Bay Beach Resort & Spa and Anchorage Condominiums. They will be officiated by USTA and International Tennis Federation head referee, Hector Figueroa, from Puerto Rico. The public is invited to come out and watch the action.
“This event, now the Choice Wireless VI Open Tennis Tournament, is crucial for our island athletes; it gives them a home-town tournament to test their skills against players from around the world. We also warmly welcome visiting players and we will treat them to some of the world’s most spectacular weather, beautiful beaches, Caribbean cuisine and of course, the great people of the Virgin Islands,” says Tony Shepherd, CEO and general manager of Choice Wireless. “The profile of this tournament fits well with our feature-rich phones and high-speed modems. We’re both about fast paced action and top notch performance.”
Choice Wireless is offering special rates on phone rentals and high-speed Internet for the tournament. Call home and on-island with a Choice Wireless phone for only $5 per day. While on-island, stay connected with high-speed 3G Mobile USB Modems for $5 per day. Both available for rent at the Choice Wireless booth or call 340-228-0220.
The Choice Wireless VI Open Tennis Tournament is sponsored by Choice Wireless, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, St. Thomas Yacht Club, Sugar Bay Beach Resort & Spa, and Caribbean Auto Group
Special rates are available at the Sugar Bay Beach Resort & Spa between Feb. 14, and Feb. 23. Call the reservations office directly at 1-800-927-7100 and ask for the ‘Choice Wireless VI Open Tennis Tournament’ special rate.