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Sun, Aug. 18

Column: Mark your 2015 calendars for these local tennis events

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Okay you tennis fiends, the unveiling of the 2015 calendar and schedule of tennis events/tournaments has arrived. It's not only what you can do in the Prescott area with fun tennis functions, but also in Sedona and Flagstaff. Tennis you can enjoy close to home and in our great climate.

It's great to have your own group to play in and with each week clinics and lessons to better your game, outlets for USTA team play within your ability and age group, one-day tournaments, and mixers. But there's even more exuberance (and positive anxiety) with weekend NTRP/Open tournaments to test your skills in a manner that heightens your senses to the highest degree of Northern Arizona competition.

This is one of those columns you should clip and tape to your refrigerator because your spring, summer and fall itinerary will be dictated by it, at least to some degree hopefully. Email your entries/level to choward4541@q.com.

• March 9-22 - BNP Paribas Open: Indian Wells California (Palm Springs area) ATP/WTA Masters Tournament. Watch the best male and female players in the world compete.

• Sunday, March 22 - Spring Potluck Mixer (for all level and abilities), Yavapai College Tennis Center; noon-4 p.m. Bring a plate/players matches to ability level. $15 per person.

• Sunday, April 12 - Century Mixed Tournament (ages must add up to 100 or more), 7.0 and 8.0+, Yavapai College T.C.; noon-4 p.m. $15 per person.

• Sunday, April 26 - Grand Prix Series men's/women's doubles 6.0/7.0/8.0+. $15 per person Round Robin, noon-4/5 p.m. Yavapai College.

• May 8-10 - 40th Annual Sedona/NTRP Tournament (Larry Lineberry 928-300-5394). See SW USTA website to sign up.

• Sunday, May 17 - Grand Prix Series men's/women's singles 3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5+. $15 per person Round Robin, noon-4/5 p.m., Yavapai College.

• May 22-24 - Prescott Memorial NTRP Tournament, Yavapai College Tennis Center, Singles/Doubles/Mixed  S/2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5. Dbls/6.0/7.0/8.0+. Singles $25 per p. Dbls. $40 per team. Entry deadline May 15.

• Sunday, June 7 - Grand Prix Series mixed doubles 6.0/7.0/8.0+. $15 per person Round Robin, noon-4/5 p.m.. Yavapai College.

• Sunday, June 14 - "Walk of Tennis Fame" clinic, auction, inductions, exhibition, Yavapai College Tennis Center, noon-2 p.m. clinic (36 spots) $40/auction.

• June 26-28 - Flagstaff Open Tournament (Scott Weber 928-853-5006 or www.ustanaz.com). See USTA SW website to sign up.

• June - Whites and Woods Mixed Doubles Tournament (Dates TBA) Claudette Laliberte. Held at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona area.

• July 10-12 - Prescott Sanctioned Mile High Open (open age groups), Yavapai College Tennis Center, Singles/Doubles/Mixed events. Singles $30 per p. Doubles $50 per team. Entry deadline July 2.

• Sunday, July 26 - Grand Prix Series men's/women's doubles 6.0/7.0/8.0+, $15 per person, round robin.

• Sunday, Aug. 9 - Grand Prix Series  men's/women's singles 2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5+, $15 per person, round robin.

• Sept. 4-6 - Prescott Labor Day NTRP Tournament, Yavapai College Tennis Center, Singles/Doubles/Mixed events, S. 2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5+, Dbls. 6.0/7.0/8.0+. Singles: $25 per p. Doubles: $40 per team. Entry deadline Aug. 27.

• Sunday, Sept. 20 - Grand Prix Series mixed doubles 6.0/7.0/8.0+, $15 per person, round robin.

• Oct. 2-4 - PATA Yavapai County NTRP Tennis Championships, Yavapai College Tennis Center, Singles/Doubles/Mixed Singles: 2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5+, Dbls. 6.0/7.0/8.0+. Website sign ups: prescotttennis.org.

Now around these tennis functions and tournaments there will also be the following programs that will kick in:

• USTA Leagues 18 & over, 40 & over, 55 & over, 65 & over, Tri-level league, World Team Tennis and Tennis on Campus.

Soon a schedule will be posted on the college and PATA website that will give the details (times/levels & league sign up information).

USTA league levels for singles are: 2.5/3.0/3.5/4.0/ 4.5 and 5.0+. Doubles: 6.0/7.0/8.0/9.0. Looking for team captains.

Starting in April there will be evening "playing groups" that will kick in at the Yavapai College Tennis Center from 6-8 p.m. for 2.5's (Mon.), 3.0's (Thurs.), 3.5's (Wed.) and 4.0 (Tues.). Year-round there are daytime "play groups" on the same days but from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. with a Sunday "play group" 4.5 level from 10 a.m.-noon.

If all these events don't wet your whistle for tennis or give you an avenue to easily jump into, then it probably isn't going to happen. Naturally there are a multitude of tennis classes and clinics which you can find on the PATA website (prescotttennis.org) or college classes (yc.edu or yc.edu/tennis) to enhance your skills or get you started as well.

2015 is going to be the best tennis Prescott has ever seen, and you can bank on that.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@q.com.

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