Mum blue over son’s omission
The Barbados Tennis Association’s arbitration committee has been called into action after a disgruntled parent cried favouritism over the seeding of the boys’ 16s draw at the ongoing Sol Nationals.
Tracia Seifert-licorish, mother of junior player Curt Seifert, contends her son wasn’t treated fairly when he was replaced by senior Davis Cup player Kaipo Marshall as the fourth seed and then forced to play No. 2 Stephen Slocombe in the first round as he was no longer being seeded.
But tournament director Mariejeanne Symmonds explained the decision wasn’t prejudiced, saying the matter was discussed at length at the level of the tournament committee and then junior committee before the executive council finally voted to ratify the decision.
It all came about due to a lastminute decision to contest the 15-man draw by Marshall, who reportedly hasn’t played a sanctioned local junior tournament since November and thus has no ranking points at that level.
“I have no issue with Kaipo being seeded for the tournament because we all know he is the best player in the age group but if you’re going to use discretion to seed him then why wouldn’t you seed him No. 1 and just bump everyone down a spot instead of randomly putting him in at four?” questioned Seifert-licorish.
“No one could have had a problem with that but they’ve just decided to take out one seed instead of pushing everyone down and what makes it worse is that Kaipo was willing to play unseeded. So it seems like they’re trying to protect certain players ahead of my son who obviously would’ve lost to Kaipo early in the tournament.
“My real problem is that I have emailed the council about what was done and no one has responded. This is crazy because it’s the same six players playing 16s all the time and Kurt has worked hard for three years taking licks, coming back and fighting to be ranked fourth in Barbados and you just throw that away from seeded to unseeded,” she added.
Seifert went on to lose that firstround match-up with Slocombe before Marshall predictably motored through the tournament without dropping more than three games.
The situation resulted in an official resigning the post as assistant tournament director while Seifert-licorish sent some stronglyworded correspondence to the executive.
However, Symmonds countered by saying seeding doesn’t always necessarily reward participation, explaining that the tournament committee wanted to accurately reflect the best players in the country.
“Typically, if you are going to use discretion to rank someone then the rule of thumb is that you rank them at the lowest available seed and he certainly wasn’t consulted about playing unseeded because we can’t have the tail wagging the dog,” reasoned Symmonds.
“Even if Kaipo was seeded one, then Curt would’ve have lost his seeding and it wasn’t a case of us protecting the No. 1 seed because we had two joint number ones and they had to toss a coin before the tournament for us to have a No. 1 seed.
“We are committed to have a ranking system that accurately reflects who our best players are, so we don’t have these exceptional circumstances and I think going forward to avoid this we’re going to have to ask or even insist that these players play the tournaments,” she added.
BTA president Dr Raymond Forde declined to comment on the matter, citing his position on the arbitration committee.