Hairston returning home to Farmfield

Hairston

Davy Hairston is bringing his crafty left-handed game back to town. He’ll be teaching tennis this time, not dominating the junior ranks.

This is a guy who walked on at the University of Virginia and rose to the ranks of No. 1 in singles and doubles as a junior and senior. The son of a heart surgeon has taught tennis all over the world. At age 51, Hairston is the new head tennis professional at Farmfield Avenue’s Charleston Tennis Center.

Welcome home, Davy. Farmfield tennis, while superb as a league tennis center, needs a jolt of new life to keep up with the area’s other outstanding junior and adult teaching facilities.

Hairston has served the last three years as the head tennis pro at the Farmington Country Club, a charming clay-court facility in Charlottesville, Va., that has a proud history. Saturday was his last day there.

“I’ll drive there (Charleston) on Sunday and start work on Monday,” Hairston said on Friday from Charlottesville.

Home has a way of calling world travelers back.

“When I learned of Farmfield (Charleston Tennis Center), I jumped at it,” said Hairston, who grew up taking lessons from former Ashley Hall/Florida State star Jane Hirsch and Billy Silcox, Charleston Tennis Center’s first pro.

Hairston was the state’s top junior. He led Porter-Gaud to state titles.

“I chose to go to UVA because my Dad went there and I was born there.”

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t recruited by Virginia. “I walked on and got a scholarship,” he said.

“My greatest win was beating Jay Berger when he was at Clemson,” he said about the current USTA national coach, who won the 1989 U.S. Clay Courts at Wild Dunes.

After college, Hairston tried the satellite circuit, “but Dad got sick, so I came home.”

He later went back out to see the world. He taught tennis at Club Med resorts, worked in Florida for famed teaching pro Rick Macci, went to the South Pacific, held the position of national tennis coach for Guam, taught tennis in Mexico and directed programs at resort hotels. He entered hotel management in the late 1990s until 2004 in the Caribbean.

Hairston slowed down enough to wed Sandy from the Turks and Caicos Islands. They have a son and a daughter.

“I’ve lived a mobile life,” he said. After kids, he needed more permanence. Tennis called him home to Charlottesville.

When Fredrik Andersson left the Farmfield pro’s position in January to move to Germany, the door to another home swung open for Hairston. He leaped through it.

A Welcome Davy round robin/party will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Farmfield. Contact the clubhouse (766-7401).

Current Family Circle Tennis Center/MWTennis touring pros Jessie Pegula and Samantha Crawford are trying to follow in Shelby Rogers’ footsteps this spring through the women’s Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. Rogers earned her first berth in the main draw of the French Open two years ago by winning the Challenge.

Pegula and Crawford both made the singles quarterfinals this past week in the three-tournament segment’s opening $50,000 tournament in Dothan, Ala. After dropping three-set singles matches and also finishing as quarterfinalists as a doubles team, Pegula and Crawford are playing this coming week in Charlottesville, Va., the tournament Rogers won in 2013 to secure her French Open bid.

Rogers is scheduled to leave Thursday to play in the $100,000 Cagnes-sur-Mer ITF event in France that begins on May 4. Irina Falconi, who teamed with Rogers as doubles finalists last week in Bogota, Colombia, also is entered.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.