Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, Feb. 20

Column: County tennis tourney on tap

When was the last time you had the chance to claim that you were the tennis champion of your whole county? Maybe last year if you took part in the 9th Annual Yavapai County Tennis Tournament.

This is the 10th year in a row that the Prescott Area Tennis Association has been the main sponsor of this special non-sanctioned National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) tennis event. You have until Friday, Sept. 26, to get your application in and make your notable mark in this annual extravaganza.

Applications are available at the Yavapai College courts or the Prescott Racquet Club.

You can enter singles, doubles or mixed doubles in a beginning 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 4.5 or very advanced Open category. If you lose your opening match you'll then get to play in the consolation aspect of the tournament, so there's a guarantee of two matches - as long as the weather cooperates.

For juniors, there is a separate boys and girls 14 and under singles division. There's also a new event for 10 and under singles (boys and girls together) on a 60-foot court using low compression balls.

The cost for an entry is $20 per person in singles, and $30 per doubles team. It's a pretty good deal when you also realize you'll be getting a nice tournament T-shirt just for entering, a guarantee of two matches and the possibility of taking home a finals trophy, not to mention bragging rights if you're one of the champions.

Matches will consist of best-of-3 sets with the third set featuring a 10-point tie-breaker. All sets that go to 6-6 in games will play a 12-point tie break. Consolation matches will consist of an eight-game pro set with a 12-point tie-break at 8-8 in games.

The main tournament site is the six-court tennis facility at Yavapai College. Overflow matches will be played at the six courts on Ruth Street at Prescott High School.

We are looking forward to a large crowd of participants in all the events and hope to show off the new benches that have been ordered and obtained by the Laurie Lewis fund-raiser that will help let viewers sit and watch matches on the upper and lower courts at the college.

I grew up in an area that held a county tournament each year. Tennis players of all ages from far and wide made sure they prepared and entered this contest, making it a truly fun and spectacular event to be a part of. It was given a lot of press, pictures, and build up, with many family members and friends coming out to watch their favorites give it their all.

Looking back, it was certainly one of the reasons that I followed the path into the world of tennis that has become a major part of my life. It didn't hurt that our sports editor was a tennis player and thus he made sure it was well covered. He also made me feel pretty special, and it's stuck with me to this day.

So, no matter if this is your first attempt at playing a tournament and you're a bit hesitant to give it a try, or if the dust on your racquet has accumulated a little more than you'd like before jumping into a tournament, this is your chance to have fun, get some exercise and meet some new and vibrant people who enjoy a friendly game of tennis on a slightly higher level than normal.

And by the way, volunteers run this tournament. Any money that is made from entry fees and sponsors goes to help tennis in our community - a pretty wonderful cause for the game we all love.

(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or choward4541@

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