Tennis Town USA is ready for you.
I can't wait to see the Best Tennis Town welcoming signs to Charleston. They are on the way, right?
Charleston area tennis has been big time for many years. But with the title of America's Best Tennis Town safely tucked away, the sky's the limit for Charleston tennis. We've got our own legitimate women's tour prospect, too. Shelby Rogers is a player to watch for the next few years, possibly even more so now that she has rejoined Family Circle Tennis Center.
It's a natural alignment: Charleston's first participant in the U.S. Open and the complex that houses the WTA Tour's Premiere level Family Circle Cup.
First, where's all of the money from the $100,000 Best Tennis Town award going?
The recreation departments of Charleston, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston will receive $10,000 each as will each of the tri-county school districts (Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley). St. Andrew's Parks and Playground also will receive $10,000. The money will be designated for tennis programming or facility enhancements.
The remaining $30,000 will be placed in a fund managed by the Lowcountry Tennis Association. Organizations can apply for grants pertaining to further growth of the game in this area.
Rogers, Minton switch
What's going on at the old Players Club on Mathis Ferry Road, now named LTP Tennis and under new management?
Seventeen-year-old Shelby Rogers has been training at the site for much of her tennis career under pro Bryan Minton. Their new address is Daniel Island and Family Circle Tennis Center. Of course, Rogers is excited about the switch back to the Family Circle Cup complex where she started out, and even more so because the tennis center is located just a few blocks from her family's home.
Minton joined Family Circle pro Lenny Schloss' Instinctive Tennis Academy at Family Circle Tennis Center this past week on the heels of Rogers' near-upset of Shuai Peng in the first round of the U.S. Open. Rogers and Minton are in Albuquerque, N.M., this week where Rogers will compete in a $75,000 women's tournament.
"Bob Moran (Family Circle general manager) wants Family Circle Tennis Center to be the best training facility anywhere," Minton said.
"Lenny (Schloss) and I have been friends and I have learned a lot from him over the years. This is just a good time to join forces with him."
Former LTP Tennis pros Chip Hand and Chris Peek also have followed Minton to Family Circle Tennis Center, along with standout juniors Connor Clements, Austin Heinz, Samantha Shuster, Ashby Bland and nearly a dozen other juniors.
"Bryan has proven himself. He has a lot of respect and credibility among the juniors," Family Circle Tennis Center director Rob Eppelsheimer said.
Your line call
Tennis is all about lines. Unlike the players on the pro tours, league tennis participants call their own lines.
Add more lines to a court to accommodate a new racket sport such as the USTA's QuickStart and calling lines automatically gets tougher. Returning hard serves that land in the outside corners of the box can become more troublesome at the point the ball travels over a new vertical line that's located about three feet inside the singles line.
The hundredth or thousandth of a second that the serve travels over the extra line can cause a player to lose focus on the ball momentarily. The slight hesitation can result in an ace on a serve you initially relaxed on because you thought it was a fault.
The QuickStart program for kids 10-and-under looks like a great game. There's tremendous excitement at tennis centers over the prospect of enticing an entirely new group of kids to move under the tennis umbrella.
At the same time, league tennis is going gangbusters everywhere. League tennis, through its league fees and USTA membership requirement, and the U.S. Open are the primary benefactors of American tennis.
Just because Andy Roddick appears to have lost his Mojo and the Williams sisters may be nearing the end of their careers doesn't mean American tennis is in trouble. Instead, tennis participation is growing faster than that of any other participatory sport in the United States.
The Family Circle Tennis Center has built QuickStart courts. Since they are smaller and low-compression or foam balls are used, four 36x18 foot QuickStart courts for 5-8 year olds can be constructed in the space a regulation court requires.
--The 27th annual Alan Fleming Senior Open Clay Court State Championship will be held Oct. 6-10 at the Seabrook Island Racquet Club. The event's 44 different brackets include singles, doubles and mixed doubles in age categories from 40-80.
Registration is available at www.discoverseabrook.com. Contact Mike Kiser at the Racquet Club (768-7543) or event co-chairs Judy and Guy Gimson (768-2549).
--The I'On Club will hold its eighth annual Ace Breast Cancer tournament Oct. 8-10. The tournament will have doubles and mixed doubles divisions. Registration is available at www.acebreastcancertennis.org.
--In last weekend's league state mixed doubles tournament, a 6.0 St. Andrew's team captained by Maggie McCann won a state title, and a 9.0 LTP Tennis team captained by Deanna Vroman took state honors. Both teams will advance to the Southern Championships next month in Jackson, Miss.
--The LCTA's annual party will be held Oct. 1 at Family Circle Tennis Center as part of the Charleston Pro Tennis League program.