USTA event in town today
Tennis teamwork is on full display at the H. Odell Weeks Tennis Center this weekend, as the USTA South Carolina Mixed Double Super Senior Championship has brought 204 competitors to town.
Mark Calvert, tennis pro at the center, said that the event was good for the local economy.
“It’s nice for us,” he said. “It’s big for the city in general as far as filling up hotels and people going to restaurants.”
According to Patti McVey of Lexington, the Mixed Doubles Super Senior league coordinator, the league is in the middle year of a three-year contract with the center. This is the fourth year in a row, counting a pair of one-year commitments in 2009 and 2010, that the event has brought its competitors from 12 leagues around the state to Aiken.
The competitors and officials come from leagues in the Upstate, Columbia, coastal regions and more, and McVey said it’s the way they’re treated that makes Aiken an attractive location.
“They treat us like we’re some kind of elitists,” she said. “We just like Aiken and all it has to offer.”
She and Calvert added that the tournament will expand its age eligibility for next year, changing from an age requirement of 60 and up to two divisions, 55-and-up and 65-and-up.
“So it should be a much bigger tournament next year,” Calvert said.
After the 2013 edition of the event, the hosting rights will be up for bid again.
Time has not run out for residents to take in some tournament action this year, though. Play will resume today at 8 a.m., and the last match starts at 1 p.m. with an expected finish time of about 3 p.m.
McVey said spectators were welcome to come out and enjoy the “wonderful” weather and a sport that she feels people can play for a lifetime.
“The more interest, the better,” she said.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.