Tennis Advantage

By RUSSELL DENDY,

The USTA Southern Section Combo Championships

The USTA Southern Section Combo Championships were held last month in Mobile, and Mississippi sent state champions from its November event to compete for sectional titles in more than 10 different divisions. Two teams from the Northside were able to come away with hardware, as Paul Kimble’s 18 and Over 8.5 men’s combo team won the sectional title after edging out North Carolina in the deciding match. The other team from the Northside taking home a prize was Robert Wilson’s 55 and Over 6.5 men’s team, who narrowly missed a Sectional title after losing in the finals to finish as the runner-up.

Looking to get involved in tennis?

Now’s the time. Spring is now in full circle, and as the weather has warmed up, everyone is looking for opportunities to get outdoors and get involved in activities. Kids will be out of school soon, so if you’re looking for opportunities to get your child involved in tennis, see the details below for programs for kids of all ages and ability levels. This next month will be one of the busiest of the year for tennis programs and tournaments.

USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) is a program for kids ages 7-18 who are at the intermediate or advanced level and know how to serve, rally, and keep score. JTT offers children the opportunity to compete on teams that emphasize fun, fitness and friends. Anyone such as a parent or a coach may enter their own team in the league or may sign up individuals to be placed on teams. The summer season of JTT is titled “Friday Night Lights,” as the matches are primarily scheduled on Fridays. Teams are coed and are made up of a minimum of four boys and four girls.

Play will begin the first week of June and culminate with the top qualifying teams being eligible to participate in the USTA JTT State Championships July 19-21 in Jackson. To enter a team of your own or to get your individual child involved, contact local coordinator Angie Deleon to get the sign up for at angied@mstennis.com. The deadline to declare your own team is May 22.

Looking for a program for a beginner child?

The Jackson Tri-County area has a multitude of great teaching pros and certified instructors, all of who offer their own lessons, summer camps, and additional programs to get players started in the game.

USTA Mississippi also hosts several “Ready to Rally” programs specifically for kids that have either never played the game before or who would consider themselves beginners.  Ready to Rally beginner programs for youth ages six-12 will be taught by trained instructors and will be held at facilities across the Northside: Reservoir YMCA, Ridgeland Tennis Center, Brandon City Courts, Brighton Park in Clinton, and potentially more sites. These programs are designed to be a low-cost way to introduce kids to the sport and offer them six to eight sessions of one-hour lessons and play for $48.  To see a list of sites where the Ready to Rally beginner programs will take place, as well as information about how to sign up online, go to www.mstennis.com/content/beginner-programs or contact Angie at angied@mstennis.com for more information

Looking to get involved in an adult program?

USTA Mixed Doubles, USTA Tri-Level Doubles and Ladies Day League are all on the tennis horizon for this summer. USTA League Mixed Doubles is one of the most social programs offered by the USTA, as the combined rating of partners makes it easy to play with friends and family. Match format is three doubles and the age divisions are 18 and over, 40 and over and 55 and over.  The deadline to enter a team into the league is May 9, but if you would like to get added to a team, contact local coordinator Graham Bucciantini at jacksonmstennis@gmail.com.

If mixed doubles isn’t for you, you might want to try USTA Tri-Level Doubles. Tri-Level is a relatively new league to the USTA spectrum but is one of the best formats USTA has to offer since it allows players from multiple different levels to play on the same team. If you want to play with friends who are at different NTRP levels or if you are having a hard time getting enough people together to form a team, this is for you. Team match format is three doubles matches, each at a different NTRP level and doubles partners are the same level. The deadline to declare a team will be May 23, and play will begin the following week. For all the details on this league, visit msleaguetennis.com

And finally, if you’d rather play during the heat of the day, there is a summer day league just for the ladies. JLTA leagues don’t play in the summer, so if you’re looking for a way to continue playing during the daytime in the summer, join the “Tri-County CTA Ladies Summer Day League.” Play begins on June 13 and the deadline to enter a team is May 23. All you need for a team is six players, and the day of play for the league will be Thursday mornings. The format for the league will be “Tri-Level doubles,” with a 3.0 court, a 3.5 court, and a 4.0 doubles court played during each team match. Play will be at tennis facilities across the Northside and you may choose whichever home facility you prefer to host your home matches. For more information, contact league coordinator Tara Baugh at tarabaugh@bellsouth.net or go to www.msleaguetennis.com to register.

Juniors are also gearing up for their busiest time of the year, as high school tennis will conclude this month with the MHSAA and MAIS State Championships.

 

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