This year’s junior indoor tournament drew a crowd last weekend, at the Asheville Racquet Club’s indoor tennis facility in south Asheville. Players came from neighboring states, SC, TN, VA, and from cities throughout NC.
There were about 80 entries in all, with matches starting on Friday morning. Tournament Referee Dottie Mattern, and Tournament Director Jeff Wilson said that it was a full weekend, with the matches played through Sunday evening after dark.
ARC’s Senior General Manager and tennis professional, Mindy Mettee commented, “Tennis continues to grow in our clubs and our community as people realize more and more that it is most definitely a life-long sport. In my position, I get to see it and appreciate it from so many different perspectives.
We are happy to announce that the Jason Armstrong tournament numbers increased over 30% from last year. The club was buzzing with excited juniors from age 7 – 18 all weekend.”
In two weeks, ARC will be hosting the Southeastern Indoor Championships, a 200 point Southern age division tournament and that will include participants in the men’s and women’s 85s. Mettee added, “It is truly admirable to watch players at that age move and compete at the level that they do.
We’re all watching the Australian Open right now on TV, and seeing some of the top players who are close to 40 years old compete at higher levels than they did 10 years ago, when tennis players used to be in their prime at 18-19 and retire in their mid-twenties.
At ARC, we are focused on continuing to build our own club community, fostering tennis and fitness at our club and also in this great city. “ ARC will continue to make capital improvements to keep up with this growing love for tennis.
The most recent updates include newly resurfaced indoor courts at ARC South, which were done in October of 2018. In March of 2019, they will be resurfacing the outdoor hard courts at both ARC locations. In 2021, the club will be converting the six remaining original har tru courts at ARC South to hydro- courts.
Some other upcoming plans include constructing a minimum of 4 indoor pickleball courts at the South location. Between the two club locations, they will hosting 9 USTA sanctioned tournaments this year. In addition, they will also be hosting four State and/ or Southern USTA league Championship tournaments in 2019.
The award for best Sportsmanship went to John Ritter, who played in the 18 and under Division. He is seen here with his proud mother Rachel, and the Tournament Director Jeff Wilson. Locals may remember Jeff Wilson as the tennis coach, and math teacher at AC Reynolds for over 25 years. John Carver, also from Asheville but not present in photo, won the 18 and under singles Division.
Ann Harrison Wilde (Annie) and her sister Molly Wilde (HVL) were champions of the Girl’s 14 and under Doubles division this past weekend. The sisters are 12 and 10 years old, respectively, but played “up” in the 14’s and 12’s Singles divisions.
Both girls made it to the finals of their Singles matches. Annie was defeated by Kayla Masterman of Asheville. Molly was defeated by Madison Utz of Davidson, NC. Their parents Janet and Jeremy Wilde take the girls to tournaments all year round, to give them as much experience as possible. Their home schooling schedule allows for some flexibility, which is so often seen with young athletes and their desire for competitive sports.
All of these events attract local tennis players, and hundreds travel here for both the tennis and the draw to Asheville. With events like Fed Cup coming to Asheville two years in a row and tournaments like these that Asheville is able to accommodate, Asheville has certainly put itself on the map as a tennis destination.
Sam Chen, (L) from Arden, was the champion of the Boys 16 and under Division, defeating 1st seeded player John Gyves from Winston Salem.