One of St Lucia’s top tennis players of all time is among a group of elite international tennis players, singled out by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to receive a prestigious award.
Vernon Lewis who has won numerous OECS singles titles and coaches a highly successful academy at the St Lucia National Tennis Centre (NTC), is among the recipients named to receive the Davis Cup Commitment Award. This new award has been conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations. It is being presented by the ITF to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition. Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20-home-and-away ties or 50 ties
at any level of the competition (including zone group events) over their career.
A total of 299 players have already qualified to receive the award, of which 252 are still alive. The ITF through its National Associations will make presentations to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013 as part of the ITF Centenary celebrations.
The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognized on an honours board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The launch of the Davis Cup Commitment Award reflects the dedication by players for more than a century to represent their country in this prestigious competition. These players have continued to rise to the unique challenge of competing in a team environment in front of their home fans, and we believe that it is fitting to recognise their efforts in our centenary year.”
To Lewis who is a two-time Sportsman of the Year, receiving this award along with other tennis greats is something he will cherish for a lifetime.
During a recent interview at the NTC he said: “It is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had. While playing tennis there has been some highs but this is really the best feeling. To get this award from the ITF along with great players like McEnroe, Agassi, Becker etc is incredible.”
Lewis began playing Davis Cup in 1991. Due to the fact St Lucia did not return to the competition after 2006 he has not played since then. In Davis Cup play Lewis has a winning record.
It’s quite conceivable that if Lewis was able to continue his Davis Cup career, he may have ended up with the world record for ties. He’s played in 53 ties and the current record is 87.
Will St Lucia return to Davis Cup play? Let’s hope so! Although father time has crept on him Lewis is still this country’s best tennis player. He is proving time and time again that age is just a number.
Earlier this week the St Lucia Tennis Association (SLTA) sent out an email congratulating Lewis, for being mentioned as a recipient of the award
from the ITF. Hopefully the St Lucia Tennis Association will take time to recognize Lewis,
who is one of only three Caribbean players to be mentioned to receive the prestigious Davis Cup Commitment Award.
Vernon Lewis, we salute you and wish you all the best in future endeavours!