MICHAEL CLARKE will return to local competition after a very long absence tomorrow when the men’s singles qualifying tournament for the BG T&T Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament serves off at the club’s courts, Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.
The former Davis Cup player, who has not played a tournament at home in at least three years, is the top seed in the qualifying draw.
In normal circumstances, players like Clarke, Harry Mahase and St Lucian McCollin Fontenelle would have been in the main draw.
But the tournament committee decided to downsize the main draw from 32 players to 16 and only ten players were selected automatically as opposed to 24 in the past.
There are 45 players in the qualifying draw and six of these will move forward from the two-day qualifying event to complete the field.
The United States-based Clarke, Mahase—who has been around since the 1970s but is still considered one of the best players in the country—and former top junior Fontenelle are heavily favoured to advance.
The tournament will officially serve off next week Sunday with doubles events, but the men’s and women’s singles will be contested during the second week, from the following Sunday (March 23).