In many ways the expansive and genteel nature of the 2000+ acre Caribbean luxury resort supported the idea that ’24 hours of Tennis at the Tryall Club’ wouldn’t be much more than some sort of mild, leisurely ‘hitting practice’ spread out over 24 hours. It sounded innocent enough.
That version wasn’t to be young Winfreid Weinbeer’s reality, however. If he expected the enormity of his 1-day challenge to temper the vigor of the players who had signed up for the one hour slots, he would have been in for a rude awakening. The 23 year old tennis pro who took on this incredible challenge played over 35 competitive sets of tennis starting at 9am on a bright, sunny and hot Caribbean morning.
Even at hour 22, with the end seemingly in sight, when he was slogging back and forth with yoga guru Tommy Rosen, it was hard to imagine that he already had some 1300 minutes of continuous tennis under his belt. Certainly Weinbeer’s achievement is all the more incredible given the tempo and intensity of some of these exchanges.
Born in Lichtenfels, Germany and raised in Hanover, Jamaica, Weinbeer is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Sciences and Tourism Management from the University of Constance in Germany and was back in Jamaica for a visit. He wanted to make the 24-hour tennis clinic a reality and together with the help of Richard Ferdinand, Director of Guest Services at Tryall, they realized his dream.
Ferdinand who remained present in support of Weinbeer for all 24 hours said: “It was a fantastic achievement. In the entire time he had 5 lessons and the remaining 19 hours our guests and members played competitively, regardless of the time of day or number of hours he had already spent on the court. It makes the magnitude of his achievement all that more significant.” Perhaps he gets his stamina from his mother, Marion Weinbeer-Holding, who supported her son throughout the event – watching him from his very first serve to the final backhand.
The 24 hour tennis event pitted Weinbeer against various individuals and groups who each contributed US$100 for an hour long slot, with the event raising a total of $3000. The funds will benefit the Tryall Sports Summer Camp which runs for six weeks in the summer and provides kids from the age of 5 with the opportunity to learn tennis, swimming and golf. The camp also hosts Advantage Testing tutors from New York City who provide the kids with a solid foundation in English and mathematics.
For children who show promise, Tryall offers grants to play tournaments throughout the year. Jamaican Dustin Brown, who famously beat Rafael Nadal at the Gary Weber Open in 2014, honed his skills at the Tryall Club.
Tryall guest Emily Pluhar, who has vacationed at the resort with her family for the past 17 years, thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and added: “It was inspiring to be part of such a momentous event where a young Jamaican boy was given an opportunity to pursue his passion in tennis and has come back to pay it forward! Tryall is dedicated to helping their fellow Jamaicans and it’s an honor to have been a part of that…we feel very fortunate to get to know so many wonderful Jamaicans through our years of visiting Tryall. We are excited to do it again next year!”
On why he would undertake such a challenge, Weinbeer who strikes you as a humble, polite and approachable young man excitedly shares: “It was two main reasons – it was a massive challenge, which I love, and it was for a good cause. The Tryall kids camp is something that I believe in, having benefited from it in the past, so I am always happy to support and help out.”
This was the first year that the event was held at the famed Caribbean resort and judging from the enthusiastic responses from guests, members and the staff, Ferdinand says it’s likely to be held annually.
For more visit the event Facebook page IRIE Tennis Charity Clinic