The LTA’s county development officer for the Channel Islands, Hugh Raymond, said yesterday that he has been inundated with phone calls from many of the 72 players taking part in the competition, appalled at having to pay between £100 and £200 for a one-way trip to Jersey.’Some of them didn’t realise that Jersey is an Island, and just presumed that the tournament was somewhere in the UK,’ said Raymond.’It has been a real shock to them, especially those who are trying to earn enough points to put them in the world’s top 100 and are having to pay their own way here.’I’ve been trying to suggest alternative ways of getting here, but it isn’t easy.
‘Some of them will be arriving a day later than anticipated, as they look to take part in the qualifying stages beginning on Monday.’They can’t book definite return flights because they don’t know how long they’ll remain in the competition.’Although the 24 highest-ranked players won’t compete until the main draw at Les Ormes on Wednesday, up to 48 would-be qualifiers will be playing in the preliminary rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
The top eight will then go through to join the other 24 in the main competition.
Among the players attempting to qualify are Elke Clijsters, from Belgium, younger sister of the world’s No 1 player, Kim Clijsters.Of the English hopefuls one of the most famous names is that of Amanda Janes, whose mother, Christine, formerly Truman, was runner-up at Wimbledon, to Angela Mortimer, in 1958.Also aiming to qualify for the last 32 is Hannah Collin, who was Britain’s No 1 player at under-18 level in 1999, plus several players from the Russian Federation and two from New Zealand.’Personally, I’ll be interested to see how good Elke Cliijsters is,’ said Raymond.
‘Although she’s listed as 389 in the world, she is younger than her sister and must have a great deal of potential.
I’m looking forward to the tournament, the biggest we’ve ever staged in the Channel Islands.’Practice takes place today and tomorrow with the qualifying rounds beginning on Monday at 10 am and the main draw taking place on Wednesday from 10 am.
The final is due to take place next Sunday at 10.30 am and admission is free.