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Adult Competition News

Why Play Age Division Tennis?

 

The Joys of Age-Group Tennis

Submitted by

Brenda Carter

The writer will be forever grateful to an older friend who took me out one afternoon and taught me (as an 11-year-old) how to keep score in tennis. It was a scorcher of a day in 1957 on an asphalt playground court on South Georgia. Now, fifty years later, I’m enjoying the game more than ever, particularly in the area of age-group competition.

Over time, there was very little formal training, but a great deal of incredible fun spent on the courts. After turning 35, age-group competition in the Southern section was discovered. I played three or four tournaments a year for several years. I played in the first few Senior Cup competitions on Georgia’s 35’s team. Family and career necessitated a break from serious competition, but I continued to play locally on a social basis and with my family.

In 1999, we moved to Charleston, and I rediscovered my drive for competition in age-group tennis. At age 55, I entered my first USTA National Age-Group tournament – and I haven’t looked back!!! What a treat that was! Since that time I’ve continued to play several national tournaments a year. I’ve even won a few gold balls and have had more fun and more success than I ever could have imagined. As a result of playing these age-group nationals, I’ve had the opportunity to represent the USTA and our country in international competition on six occasions – now you talk about a thrill – I get chills just penning these words. Never in a million years, would I ever have thought I would have had these opportunities. When I go to these competitions, I feel like I’m playing in the Olympics!!!

I say all of this as encouragement to others because there is so much that age-group tennis offers – and you don’t have to give up League tennis to do it. Actually, I’m a firm believer that one can become a more valuable league member by participating in USTA age-group tournaments. One can choose to play at the local, state, sectional or national level!!!

So what do age-group tournaments offer you? First of all, you will be further challenged to improve your game. You’ll leave every match (a win or a loss) with new ideas of things to work on – hence your game could improve dramatically. Secondly, you’ll experience the joy of individual competition and will gain confidence “in the heat of battle.” We all know that playing in meaningful competition is totally different from playing a friendly match at home. Your good play may also land you a spot on your state’s Senior Cup Team – which is an awesome event put on annually by the Southern Section. There are many other benefits, but the one that is most meaningful to me has been the joy of making a wonderful new group of dear friends – and this can happen to you as well. This new group of friends could enhance your life beyond your wildest dreams. They are your competition, but they also will become some of your greatest supporters.

We all know that tennis is a game of a life-time – all of us who play or love this game are bound together by it in some way – and we’ve been blessed by being a part of it. Remember there is an age-group tournament right around the corner waiting for you to enter – be brave and DO IT! You’ll have a blast!

Player Spotlight

Fran Chandler of Jackson, TN represented the United States at the ITF World Team Championships Women’s 45 Margaret Court Cup, April 23-28, 2007 in Antalya, Turkey. This was the fourth time that Chandler played for the US and helped the team this year defeat Sweden and Spain before losing to France in the semis. The US claimed 3rd by defeating Great Britain.

Fran is a native of Jackson, TN, and played her college tennis at Murray State and Ole Miss, where she earned All-SEC honors in 1983 and ’84. She is currently ranked #4 in the world in the Women’s 45s and #2 in the US and has been ranked in the top 10 nationally for the past 14 years. She has captured five gold balls in national competition.

Fran has also represented Southern in Intersectional Team Competition for nine straight years and TN in the Southern Senior Cup Team Championships for the last ten years.

“Being able to travel the world and meet people who as teammates become some of your best friends is such an honor and privilege. I truly appreciate the support that I have received from TN, Southern and the USTA in these competitions.”

 

Senior Cup Recap

 


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