BECK COLUMN: World Team Tennis Launch Party set for Friday
Itís hot. Wimbledon is wrapping up. It must be World Team Tennis time.
Yes, another WTT season is set to start Monday night with matches in Boston, Orange County, Calif., and Springfield, Mo.
But before you know it, WTTís top two teams from the Eastern and Western divisions will head to Family Circle Tennis Center for the Sept. 14-16 WTT Finals Weekend. Thanks to the switch from mid-summer to late-summer because of the London Olympics, the weather should be more comfortable for World Team Tennisí second visit to Charleston. Of course, play and travel will be staged at a furious coast-to-coast pace before the WTT concludes its regular season on July 28.
One of the highlights of the local summer tennis season will be next Friday nightís WTT Launch Party at Family Circle Tennis Center. Family Circle officials are expecting an even larger crowd than the approximately 1,000 people who turned out for last yearís event that introduced local fans to the WTT format.
The 6-9 p.m. program, which will be sponsored by the Lowcountry Tennis Association, will feature teams from Charleston Tennis Center, Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island Club, IíOn, Legend Oaks, Mount Pleasantís Whipple Road complex, Park West and Pine Forest Country Club that will represent World Team Tennisí eight franchises.
These eight local clubs not only will compete on the court, but their fans also will battle for the spirit award that went to Legend Oaks last summer. The evening should once again be a big party, with food trucks on the site.
The LCTA also will be a sponsor for the WTT Finals Weekend. But state league tennis officials apparently overlooked a conflict with the WTT Finals when they scheduled the state mixed doubles tournament for the same Sept. 15-17 weekend in Florence.
For some mixed doubles participants, the conflict could create a mad rush from Florence back to Daniel Island for the 6:30 p.m. Saturday WTT Western Conference title match and 4 p.m. Sunday WTT final.
The Charleston area has its own No. 1-ranked Southern junior in Connor Clements, who used a third-place finish in the recent Southern Closed Championships to vault into the top spot in boys 18 singles.
League tennisí combo doubles will be kicking off in the next few weeks now that team registrations have closed. Most adult men will play weekday matches at 7:30 p.m.: Monday (5.5), Tuesday (6.5), Wednesday (7.5) and Thursday (8.5). Adult 5.5 women will compete on Monday (9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.); 6.5 on Tuesday (6 p.m.) and Thursday (9:30 a.m.); 7.5 on Wedneday (9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.); 8.5 on Thursday (6 p.m.); and 5.0 on Thursday (6 p.m.). The 9.5 men and women will play matches on Sundays at 3 p.m. Most senior men and women will play on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., while 6.5 senior women will play on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. The local combo playoffs are scheduled for Sept. 20-23.
The second annual Charleston Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project will be held July 19 at Pine Forest Country Club. All net proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. League tennis player Josh Strimple, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve who spent much of last year in Iraq, is the founder of the Classic. For details, go to www.charlestonclassic.org.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns at ubitennis.com/english.