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World’s Largest Tennis Tournament Returns to Charleston

July 19, 2006 10:09 AM

More than 2,000 tennis players are expected to take part in the 2006 USTA League presented by CHRYSLER Southern Section Championships, which are being held from July 22-30 in Charleston, SC.

This year’s event has drawn the top 200 teams from throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The teams, which represent various clubs, parks, recreational departments and organizations, have finished at the top of their local leagues and are now vying for a chance to represent the USTA Southern Section at the USTA League presented by CHRYSLER National Championships.

Matches will be played at seven sites in the Charleston area, including the Family Circle Tennis Center, Snee Farm, Creekside Tennis Center, Daniel Island Tennis Club, College of Charleston, Citadel Tennis Complex and Mt. Pleasant Tennis Center. The Family Circle Tennis Center is the official Tournament headquarters.

USTA League Tennis was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 Sections. Men’s and women's team competition starts with the 2.5 division (beginner) and moves up to the 5.5 level (advanced). Adult division teams play two singles and three doubles matches, except for the 2.5, 5.0 and 5.5 levels, which instead play one singles and two doubles matches. In the senior division (over 50 years of age), teams will compete in levels 2.5 through 4.5, and play three doubles matches.

In full draws, two groups of five teams compete in round robin play with the winner of each group advancing to the finals. In total, 430 team matches comprised of 1,626 individual matches will be played.

Men's and women's 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and senior men's and women's 4.0 and 4.5 competition begins Saturday, July 22 and concludes with the final round of play on Tuesday, July 25. The men's and women's 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5 and senior men's and women's 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 competition starts on Thursday, July 27 and concludes on Sunday, July 30 with their respective finals. Matches begin at 8:00 am each day.

“Every year the championships seem to grow more exciting,” explains Tournament Chairman Dodie Hanchett. “The experience of the sectional championships is truly incredible; eight days of intense tennis, team camaraderie and a fabulous city are sure to make for a successful event.”

Established in 1980, USTA League Tennis has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year, to over 585,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis program. There are over 100,000 adult and senior players in the Southern Section alone. The program is open to women and men 19 years of age and older. Players from over 100 cities in the nine Southern states experience the team camaraderie and intense competition as play progresses through local, state, and sectional play, culminating in a national championship for each skill level in the fall.

"Each team is competing with one goal in mind,” explained Marilyn Sherman, director of adult tennis for the USTA Southern Section. “They are all vying for that Sectional title so that they can have the honor of representing the Southern Section in the National Championships."

The 2006 tournament is presented by the USTA Southern Section in cooperation with strong local volunteer support. Chrysler is entering its first year as the presenting sponsor and official vehicle of the USTA League Tennis program. Penn Racquet Sports is in its 19th year as official ball of USTA League Tennis and Bullfrog is an official sponsor of the USTA League Tennis Southern Sectional Championships.

Founded in 1881, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in this country. In addition to owning the US Open and selecting members of the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic teams, the USTA administers a variety of programs nationwide for players of all ages and ability levels. A not-for-profit organization, the association is divided into 17 sections, of which the USTA Southern Section is the largest. The 165,000 USTA members living in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee make up the USTA Southern Section, and account for approximately 25% of the total USTA membership. A professional staff housed in Norcross, GA carries out the USTA Southern Section’s daily operations, but policy is formed and much of the organization’s work is executed via a Board and committee structure of over 200 volunteers. For more information about the types of programs and services offered by the USTA Southern Section visit www.southerntennis.com.




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