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Wheelchair Tennis

May Monthly Spotlight-Richmond Tennis

May 9, 2012 02:05 PM
Richmond Tennis Action
Richmond Tennis Friends
The end of a long day
The sun shone brightly as the last match of the 2012 Midlothian Athletic Club Wheelchair Open concluded at the Midlothian Athletic Club Sunday afternoon although wet courts kept the matches inside until early afternoon.  

The weekend tournament started with the fun Sportable Run/Roll Social on Friday night.  Under the direction of two-time Paralympian Karin Korb, the wheelchair tournament players partnered with a different able bodied player every twenty minutes.  Eight RTA board members and guests joined in on the fun that included food and a silent auction to support the RTA/Sportable Wheelchair Tennis Program at Byrd Park.

The twenty player field entered in the MAC Wheelchair Open began competition early Saturday morning.  Five Richmond players were among the competitors, the largest local participation in the history of the tournament.

David Richardson is the newest of the locally grown wheelchair athletes and was playing in his first tournament after appearing at the Byrd Park program three weeks ago to try wheelchair tennis.  Although this is David’s first wheelchair tennis competition, he is not new to wheelchair athletics arena.  David raced in hand cycling events and competed in a hand cycling race Sunday morning before he finished his last tournament match in Men’s Division C.  David had close matches with all three players in his field, winning his first match 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 1-0 (10-8) and losing his next two matches 4-6, 6-4, 0-1 (3-10) and 7-9 in an abbreviated format pro-set to end in a three way tie for second place.

Bruce Patton was entered in Men’s Division A and lost his first match in the main draw to eventual semi-finalist Mark Jenkinson of Martinsburg, WVA 7-5, 6-1.  He was successful in besting Bob Barnaby of Virginia Beach 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the Men’s Division A quarterfinals before bowing out to Felix Suero of Kendall Park, NJ 6-3, 3-6, 0-1 (6-10).  Suero later triumphed as the winner of the consolation draw.  Bruce played solidly all weekend.

The 2011 MAC Wheelchair Open was Chris Lamps’ wheelchair tournament debut when he played in Men’s Division C. Chris played up in Men’s Division B this year and beat Terry Hurst of Fredericksburg 6-4, 6-2 in the first round.  Chris then upset second seed David Beauregard of Wilmington, NC 6-3, 6-4 before losing to Larry Toler of Baltimore in the final 7-6 (7-0), 7-5.  Chris is the most improved player of the group.

The 2011 MAC Wheelchair Open was also Ashley Nusbaum’s wheelchair tennis tournament debut.  Ashley played Valeria Reyes-Chian, a fourteen year old, again this year and had a much better match although she lost 6-0.  Valeria may be young but has been taking wheelchair tennis lessons for six years from Brenda Gilmore, a well-respected coach in Prince George county, MD and turned out to be a formidable opponent for Mary Catherine Taylor who was introduced to wheelchair tennis one year ago when two time Paralympian Karin Korb taught a free wheelchair tennis clinic at the MAC Wheelchair Open.

The future is bright for wheelchair tennis in Richmond due mainly to the Byrd Park Wheelchair Training Clinic supported by the RTA and Sportable, Richmond adaptive sport organization.  The clinic is in the fourth year and is fortunate to have Karin Korb of Atlanta as a visiting instructor.  Victor Rizzi, the Director of Tennis for the City of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, and Gary Rudd are assisting Karin.   Many RTA members participated in starting and maintaining the Byrd Park Wheelchair Training Clinic, and RTA can be proud of the achievements of local wheelchair tennis players.

Many sponsors made the MAC Wheelchair Open successful.  The title sponsor of the Truong Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix circuit is the Truong Rehabilitation Center of Fredericksburg, and the title sponsor of the tournament is the Midlothian Athletic Club.  Presenting sponsors were VCU-Bertier Foundation, RTA, USTA Virginia and USTA MidAtlantic.  Food sponsors were Café Caturra, Chick-fil-A Chesterfield, the Fresh Market, Panera Bread and Costco Chesterfield.

 
 

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