Rain don’t stop the Carnival and snowstorms didn’t stop players from several U.S. mainland states from coming to St. Thomas, Feb. 12 to 15, to compete in the 4th Chrysler Cup Tennis Tournament. This premier tennis event in the U.S. Virgin Islands welcomed over 90 players, including those from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts-Nevis. The St. Thomas Yacht Club hosted the finals.
In the Women’s Open Singles, Alina Sullivan from Massachusetts handily won in round-robin play over Erica Adams from Georgia (6-1, 6-0) “The final score didn’t really show it, but a lot of games went to deuce,” said Sullivan, who graduated from Boston College last year and is now playing on the Pro Tour. “She played the ball low. I’m use to players with a lot of topspin, so it was definitely a challenge and a different mindset. I really had to focus.”
Sullivan comes from a family of tennis players. Her maternal grandmother played at Wimbledon as a teenager; her mother, Jeannine Balbiers, is a former No. 1 singles player at Arizona State; her father, Paul Sullivan, won national, indoor mixed-doubles titles playing with Billie Jean King in the 1960s. William Boe-Wiegaard from Connecticut successfully defended his Men’s Open Singles title against Michael-Ray Pallares from Florida (7-5, 6-4). “It felt good to defend the title, especially since I really had to work for it. Last year, I won by default.” Boe-Wiegaard has played in every Chrysler Cup since the event’s inception four years ago and plans to return next year. “It’s a beautiful location to play tennis,” he said. “Not too hot, not too humid and not too windy.”
In other play, Jack McArdle and Michael Sullivan beat George Lewis and Kirk Thomas in round-robin play in the Men’s Open Doubles, while in Mixed Open Doubles, Alina Sullivan and Michael-Ray Pallares beat St. Thomas tennis pro George Lewis and Erica Adams (6-0, 6-4). In Women’s B Singles, Leah Jamison beat Lesley Broadbelt (6-2, 6-3), while Constance Foreman and Michelle Avery won (6-2, 7-5) over Tamara Williams and Leah Jamison in Women’s B Doubles.
In Men’s B Singles, Denzil Caines defeated Mabubiyah Richards (6-2, 6-2). In the Men’s B Doubles, Denzil Caines and Darryl Donovan won over George Sledge and Horace Richardson (6-4, 6-4).
Finally, in Women’s 55 Doubles, Joyce Whitaker and Carolyn Tyson defeated Sharon Petersen and Betty Kroupa (6-0, 6-0), while in Mens 60-Plus Doubles, Earl Kelly and Ralph Harris beat Joseph Hosie and Paul Sullivan (6-0, 6-3).
Over $12,500 in prize money was awarded. Handmade porcelain tile trophies made by St. Thomas artist Kimberly Young were also awarded to the winners. 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). Speaking at the event, deJongh said, “One day we hope to have one of the players who learned in the Tennis in the Parks and Schools program play in this tournament.”
Players donated a dozen used rackets to the TIPS program over the weekend event. 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 the Chrysler Group and the V.I. Department of Tourism.