I worked the USTA South Carolina State Adult Tennis Championship in late May in Aiken as a volunteer and had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the state of South Carolina.
There were 1,181 participants, plus spouses and family, in Aiken for this tournament. Several of the players mentioned unsolicited what a lovely town Aiken is, how friendly the people are in the restaurants, hotels and motels and those working the tournament. Several wanted to know if the city went out of its way to tell people to be friendly to visitors.
Being an old Aikenite, I laughed and told them that was the charm of Aiken and why so many people chose to live here. All of them said they hope we knew how lucky we were to have such a community.
They also said we had great tennis facilities. Several said they were members of private clubs along the coast and the upstate, and the Odell Weeks Tennis Center matches or exceeded their clubs for quality and quantity of courts.
Mark Calvert, the tennis supervisor at Odell Weeks, his staff and the recreation department are to be commended for their efforts to bring this tournament to Aiken. They were able to get the cooperation and support of not only the city’s facilities, but the tennis facilities at Fermata, Houndslake, Woodside, the Reserve and USC Aiken, as well as Riverview Park and the Buena Vista tennis facilities in North Augusta.
The only thing I believe could have been done better was the promotion of the restaurants, shops and sights in Aiken. It would also have been nice if the Aiken Standard and Augusta Chronicle had provided more coverage of this three-day event.
I hope Aiken is able to host this tournament in the future since it brought such a large number of guests to Aiken to see what a wonderful community we have.