SPORTS: TENNIS BOUNCES INTO KENTUCKY

By Larry Vaught

 

Some of the world’s best 18 and junior tennis players will be in Nicholasville October 5-13 for the USTA Pan American International Tennis Federation Tournament at Top Seed Tennis Club.

“These players are so good,” said tournament director Rick Work- man. “They will amaze you with their strength, quickness and agility. It’s a chance to see the best players coming up in the world.”

Players from North, South and Central America will be participat- ing in the world regional championship. Workman has been helping organize the competition on behalf of the United States Tennis As- sociation for about ten years and says the sport continues to amaze him.

“The players have to live in this region of the world to gain entry into the tournament,” he said. “The level of play truly is sensational. You have the top young players coming up right before they turn pro. Many of them already play in professional tournaments and are transitioning from the junior to the professional game now.”

There are 64 boys and 64 girls in the singles draw and 32 boys and girls teams in the doubles.

“This tournament has the next generation of great tennis players- whether it is in the professional ranks or top-level Division I college tennis,” Bradley Bryan, Director of Tennis at Top Seed Tennis Club, said. “We are going to attract a lot of Division I coaches to watch these kids play. I guarantee you the SEC schools and more will all be here to recruit. You might see a future Wimbledon or U.S. Open star playing here.”

The Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, part of the USTA pro circuit, had another successful event in Lexington that ended in early August. Bryant says this is just a continuation of superb tennis for fans to watch. 

“It’s another great way to promote tennis here. It’s another way to get fans involved and see one of the best junior events in the world,” Bryan said.

Taylor Fritz, now a top 50 player in the world, won this event three years ago. Fritz, 21, became the second-fastest American ever to reach an ATP final when he did it in just his third career event. Madison Keys, 24, is another former winner. She’s been ranked as high as No. 7 in the world and reached the 2017 U.S. Open championship match. She has won four WTA tournaments.

“You almost always see kids who make the quarterfinals in this event transition into the pro ranks,” Workman said.

The tournament occurred in Charlotte, N.C. in 2018 and Tulsa in 2017. This year John Sanders, General Manager of Top Seed Tennis, helped put together a winning bid to host the event here in Kentucky. It will be played indoors for the first time.

“Because it is a fall event and we have 12 indoor courts, it’s a good time to have it indoors,” Bryan said. “We have more indoor courts than outdoor courts (9). We have a great facility here and this is a great way for us to promote our indoor facility with some of the world’s best junior players playing. We have a good seating area for fans, too.”

Workman thinks it is going to be a perfect venue for this international competition.

“John Sanders has a lot of festivities planned for the event and has done a great job with everything about the event,” Workman said. “It’s a great chance for tennis fans in the tri-state area to see some great young tennis players. Hosting the event inside for the first time takes away any weather worries for players and fans. I think everybody is quite excited about what is coming up in Kentucky.”

 

 

 



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