Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith will be seeking to extend his impressive six-year unbeaten run in his bid for a third successive Barbados Road Tennis Open (BRTO) title.
The island’s top ranked road tennis player has made it clear he has no intentions of relinquishing his crown just yet, even as he approaches his 40th birthday.
Griffith walked away with the top prize of $20 000 in both 2022 and 2023, defeating Shakeem Nurse in the final on both occasions.
And with Barbados’ biggest road tennis competition set to serve off on July 14 and run until September 22, he already has his sights set on a three-peat.
Registration for the tournament opened May 6 and will close July 8.
Arguably one of the sport’s best defenders of all-time, Griffith last lost a competitive match six years ago when he was defeated by Antoine ‘Lil Man’ Daniel in the semifinals of the 2018 Silver Hill Road Tennis tournament.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, the two-time defending champion, who will turn 40 in September, said he was focused on winning the lucrative competition.
“I’m feeling confident, knowing that I had an early heads up, which gave me more time to prepare and I am definitely looking to win my third BRTO title,” Griffith said.
While the former Ellerslie student said he expected to face the second ranked Nurse once again in the final, he admitted that he was also “wary” of Antoine ‘Lil Man’ Daniel,
“I expect another showdown with Shakeem, but I am not going to count my chickens before they hatch. Antoine Daniel will be seeded and I will have to face him before I can get to Shakeem so I will need to overcome that obstacle first.
“Antoine is one of those players to be wary of. He always brings out the best in me and he is a dynamic player that I have great respect for,” Griffith said.

Shakeem Nurse has finished runner-up on two occasions. (FP)

Meanwhile, a confident Nurse told Barbados TODAY he planned to make amends for his two losses in the finals.
“I’m going to win it this time. I learned a lot from my two defeats in the final and I’m coming back stronger this time around,” the 19-year-old prodigy said.
The 55-year-old Daniel, a taxi driver, said even though he had not been playing as often as he would like, he still expected to perform well in the competition.
He was defeated by Nurse at the semifinal stage last year in a five-game thriller.
“I will try again. I stopped for a while because of the tourist season, but it won’t take me long to get back in my hand. The other players ain’t get that hard that I can’t handle them,” Daniel said.
“At the end of the day I don’t have anything to lose. They have to beat me.”
Julian ‘Michael Jackson’ White also confirmed his participation.
A road tennis legend and the winningest road tennis player in the history of the sport, the 56-year-old White said he hopes to improve on his showing last year, where he was eliminated at the quarterfinal stage.
“Right now things are looking better. My knee isn’t hurting as bad as before, so once I don’t aggravate it I will be good.
“When I participate in a tourney I’m always looking to win. It may be a little beyond me right now, but I will try my best and see how it goes,” he said. 
Credit: Nation News