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Day 1 - USTA Southern Campus Championships

February 29, 2008 06:21 PM

Results: Saturday Draws Sunday Championship Draws

The USTA Southern Section Campus Championships kicked off on Saturday, March 1st at the Westgate Tenns Center in Dothan, AL. The morning started with a brief captains meeting followed by the opening round of tennis action. Two additional rounds will be played during the afternoon session before the players enjoy a reception on the grounds of the Westgate Park. Please check back for more updates and pictures!

Party Time for Players…

After the players had finished their third match of the day, it was time to take a break and relax at the Player Party. They had spent the day facing off on court so the party was a time to have fun and get to know each other off the court. In a large tent decorated with banners representing each team’s university, the city of Dothan provided a catered BBQ dinner for all participants. Tennis Warehouse and the Southern Section provided a variety of prizes and giveaways so that everyone left with something extra!

Have Fun, Play Tennis, Make Friends…..Study?!

With the Campus Championships taking place on the first weekend in March, you would expect most of the players to be relaxing, playing tennis and having fun. Spring Break is typically around this time of year, with students taking a week off from studies to have some fun, but it was not all fun and games around the Westgate Tennis Center. When students were not hitting balls on the court, they could be found hitting the books for a big exam Monday morning.

Several schools such as University of Tennessee- Chattanooga do not start Spring Break until March 8th, leaving them with a week of papers and midterms to prepare for in between matches. Some of the universities started their break this weekend so those students who didn’t have a book seemed to have a cell phone in their hands discussing plans with friends. With Panama City less than two hours away, the championships are a two day pit stop for those heading to a week at the beach. For those participants less lucky, Dothan serves as an outdoor study hall with activity breaks for matches.

Right Time, Right Place...

For most tennis fans, it seems like only a dream to be able to meet their favorite players. For Gus Parks of Western Kentucky University, it’s a reality…time and time again. Parks is a big fan of the Williams’ sisters and was in attendance at a local charity event they played in Lexington, Kentucky. Being satisfied just watching them at a pre-event clinic, Parks never expected to have Venus Williams invite him on court to hit with her. Even with his hands shaking around the racquet and one of the nation’s top tennis players across the net, Parks was able to get in some strong and impressive volleys and serves.

Living outside Lexington, Parks always tries to attend the ATP Masters Series event in Cincinnati every August. With top tennis names always around the area, Parks was again just excited to be there watching some of the players warm up and practice. Never did he expect to meet and get an autograph from Novak Djokovic! “It was unbelievable,” Parks said, “I was standing out there all day watching players practice and then there he was. I met a few other players that day too but then woke up sick the next morning with sever dehydration from being in the sun all day.” With many more events on his agenda to attend, there is no telling what tennis great he will come across next.

Break Points...

Three members of the LSU team drove over one hour to Panama City to sleep on the beach the night before their match. It was not their "imagination" when they had to wake up with the sunrise in order to make on time for the 9 a.m. start on Saturday.... Gerogia Tech's Nathan Black is no stranger to tournament action. He had the experience of pro circuit tours when he played in the GA Tech Holiday Classic that featured suck players like Bobby Reynolds. Black dropped a tough match in three sets to Brian Coxton... Western Kentucky had a long journey together from Bowling Green, KY, but it the midst of all the fun times and laughter there was a slight medical emergency. One teammate chipped her tooth on a bottle while laughing and having a good time.




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