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BARBADOS - Tennis teen gets NSC grant



Published on: 6/3/05.

BY BERNARD BABB

Haydn Lewis,BARBADOS' latest sporting prospect intends to seriously pursue his dream of making an impression on the international tennis world.

Haydn Lewis, a 19-year-old left-hander and one of the island's most promising junior tennis players in recent years, has turned professional and will pursue his career from the Australia-based camp of coach Peter Smith.

"Right now I have an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking of 1223 but I hope to be among the Top 600 in the world by the end of 2005," Lewis told WeekendSport.

The talented Lewis, currently recovering from a thigh injury he sustained while competing on the ATP satellite circuit in April, spoke during a media conference yesterday where it was also formally announced that he would be receiving state backing.

Director of Sport Erskine King told the conference at the National Tennis Centre, Wildey, that the National Sports Council (NSC) would be providing Lewis with a $50 000 grant to continue his programme in Australia.

"The council has taken a decision to assist Haydn and will contribute $50 000 to his training in Australia for the next six months," said King.

Vice-president of the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association, Sandra Osborne, said having a local player on the professional circuit was a positive development for the game in Barbados.

She also praised the NSC for partnering the BLTA in supporting Lewis.

Also present in support of Lewis were club-mates Richard Harrison and former Barbados champion Gregory Adams.

Noting that it was a costly exercise to remain in training at the highest level, King said another assessment would be done at the end of six months with a view to providing further financial support for the player.

Lewis thanked all for their support, both past and present, and promised to work hard and do his best in the tough and lonely world of tennis.

Based in Australia for the past two years, Lewis is one of few Barbadian senior players ever to attain a world ranking.

He is the latest local sportsman to receive state assistance, following such athletes as Obadele Thompson, Andrea Blackett, Barry Forde and Bradley Ally.

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