Gibraltar Island Games 2019: Tennis by Robbin Sheppard-Capurro.
“Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”
For Team Gibraltar it’s been a frustrating period. A bronze medal in the mixed doubles back in Bermuda 2013 their most recent taste of success. 2015 and 2017 produced nothing in what could only be considered a slump.
But thanks to one crucial addition, Team Gibraltar head into this summer with a fresh sense of belief. Amanda Carreras left the Rock at the tender age of 9 to pursue a career in Tennis.
Barcelona would become ‘home’ for her and her family. It seemed far-fetched at the time, particularly back in Gibraltar, a nation unaccustomed to exceptional sporting talent… but she turned pro 10 years later.
The 28-year-old has won 10 singles and 14 doubles titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit. In 2017, she reached her best singles ranking of world No. 236 but has endured an injury-ravaged couple of years since.
Never short of determination, she’s bounced back, looking stronger than ever and in the form of her life… so what can we expect from her at the Games?
“Gold – we’re hoping she can take us all the way” Team Manager Jeremy Poggio says with a cautious undertone.
She isn’t the only ray of hope. 24-year-old Shane Brown will go as Gibraltar’s top seed in the male category. Similarly to Amanda, he was a cut above his peers at a young age. His slight figure and elegant style of play had heads turning and people talking.
His exploits took him across the pond and he spent some time in the States playing College tennis. Now, back on the rock, Shane is fully focused and playing better than ever.
“He’s our secret weapon – no one’s heard of him before…”
Also in the squad, are husband and wife Lionel and Melanie Chipolina, two veterans of the game with plenty of Island Games experience. Although they can’t realistically expect to win any medals, their influence both on and off the court will be vital to the team.
The competition this summer will be played at the Gibraltar Sandpits Tennis Club located in an idyllic setting next to the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. There are 3 courts with plexi-cushion surfaces, which are overlooked by the clubhouse. Under the summer sun the atmosphere is sure to be electric.
Gibraltar Island Games 2019: Tennis