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Fri, May 24

PATA party highlights busy tennis week

It was a very busy weekend of tennis events.

Locally we had our Prescott Area Tennis Association Christmas dinner and party at the St. Michael's Hotel on Friday night with more than 75 people in attendance. Tom Winker's band the Jukebox entertained us, and Don Langford our fearless leader gave his first State of the Union address, pertaining to tennis at least.

Many of our compatriots were mentioned: Our new board members Don Langford, George Reynolds, Roger Kniesl, Jenny Cobb, Oscar Casadei and Flo Hendricks; George Reynolds and Dave Justice, both for all their hard work resurfacing courts five and six; Edna and Syd Moglewer, whose kitchen was used to organize this group seven years ago; Jerri Hubbard who leads a Friday weekly group of players; and then much to my surprise they honored me with a can of tennis balls, that was much more than what it appeared to be, and I want to thank you all so much.

The dinner was great, the ballroom just perfect for our group, the music fun and entertaining, the dancing spectacular, and George Cristea jammed with the band and delighted the troops.

All in all, it was another wonderful moment in time with people who have a common denominator, tennis.

The third annual Christmas party will go down in PATA history as maybe the best event yet, until next year when our group is anticipated to double in size.

Earlier in the week the 25th Annual Fiesta Bowl Senior Tennis Open was played at the Scottsdale Athletic Club, ending Sunday.

The tournament this year was the largest draw in its history, due to the fact that it became a national ranking tournament with many players flying in from throughout the United States. Many of the singles draws consisted of 32 players.

John Houston made it to the quarters in the men's 55 singles division; Dick McGaw and Dave Tucker went out in the semi's of the men's 55 doubles; Bob Hodges made it to the finals of the men's 60 doubles and I don't know if he won or lost (it was close when I left); Myron and Bobbie Snow were in the 50 Mixed final; and I won the men's 45 singles and doubles. Not a bad way to round out the year.

While the Fiesta Bowl was going on, Scottsdale was also hosting the 2000 USTA Men's Future's Tennis Tournament at the Radisson Resort. The prize money for the 29 Futures tournament held in the United States ranges from $12,500 to $15,000 (per tourney), and lend to letting up-coming tennis players work their way toward a computer ranking, larger tournaments called Challengers ($50,000 each), and then on to the ATP Tour circuit.

Josh Tate and I watched one of the quarter-final singles matches, the number one seed, Michael Joyce (USA) play against Michel Delville (BEL) and it was a tough back and forth match. These guys are doing their best to claw, scratch and bite their way to the majors, and it's grueling.

Out of the top eight seeded players, only the number one and two seeds were still in the quarters.

If you get a chance to see any of this type of tennis, you should go. I would also highly recommend watching our college tennis teams play this winter and spring. ASU, NAU and the U of A. It's free, and the talent is amazing.

On that same note, our high school tennis players would love to have you cheer them on as well beginning in February.

It was a wonderful, extended weekend of tennis events. Now it's time for all of you to begin preparing your games for the adult and senior USA Tennis Leagues that will begin soon.

See you on the courts!

(Chris Howard is a local USTPA tennis professional with over 25 years in the fitness industry).


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