Ninety-two tennis players from the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and several U.S. Mainland states will kick-off competition Friday in the 4th Annual Chrysler Cup Tennis Tournament, to be held Feb. 12 to 15. Many highly ranked players are back and ready to defend their titles from last year. William Boe-Wiegaard from Connecticut is playing in this event for the fourth time and will look to once again win the Men’s Open Singles champion title. Boe-Wiegaard, the number one seed, may see stiff competition against Michael-Ray Pallares of Louisiana, who is seeded No. 2 in the Men’s Open Single’s division. In the Women’s Division, Erica Adams, from Atlanta, Georgia, will seek to recapture the Open Singles title, which she won in 2008. She will also compete in round robin play in mixed doubles paired with St. Thomas tennis pro George Lewis.
Players will compete in 11 divisions, including Open Divisions for both men and women with a NTRP rating of 4.5 and up, a B Division for players with a NTRP rating of 4.0 and below, and mixed doubles divisions. Play will be best of three sets for all divisions except Men’s Open Doubles, Mixed Open Doubles and Women’s 55 Doubles, which will be played in a round-robin format.
Matches will take place at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, the Anchorage Condominiums and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. The public is invited to come out and watch the action. This year’s tournament is dedicated to First Lady Cecile deJongh, who has ignited enthusiasm for the sport through her Tennis in the Parks and Schools Initiative (TIPS). This project to promote tennis as a lifelong sporting activity saw the introduction of after-school and summer tennis camps as well as the provision of tennis equipment to the physical education departments of several elementary schools throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands, thus sowing the seeds for more tournament-level players in the future. The 4th Annual Chrysler Cup Tennis Tournament is the only tennis tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands sanctioned by the USTA’s Caribbean District.
The event is sponsored by sponsored by the Chrysler Group and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. Ray Lugo, regional manager for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, Chrysler International Services S.A., said, "As the co-sponsor of the 4th Chrysler Cup Tennis Tournament, it gives me great pleasure to welcome all participants and to wish them a pleasant stay St. Thomas. We look forward to helping make this the premier tennis tournament in the Virgin Islands. We truly believe events like this bring the community together, offer a wealth of hospitality to our visitors, and showcase some of the best talent on St. Thomas."
V.I. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said, “The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is proud to be a sponsor of this prestigious tournament that attracts accomplished tennis players from throughout the U.S., the Caribbean as well as our own local athletes. We wish all the participants the best of luck.”