By McCarton Ackerman, special to USTA.com
With multiple Top 100 players set to take part this year, the 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic is gearing up to be bigger and better than ever.
Held at the Midland Community Tennis Center in Midland, Mich., Feb. 3-10, the $100,000 tournament is considered to be one of the crown jewels of the USTA Pro Circuit. Voted America’s "Best Tennis Town" in 2009, Midland hosts numerous events throughout the week designed to attract fans of all ages to watch world-class tennis played in their own backyard.
At noon on Saturday, Feb. 2, the tennis center will host a High School Play Day for more than 300 high school players across the state. And late that day, the tournament will offer a Kids’ Fun Day and tennis clinic for more than 100 children ages 14 and under, designed to give them a unique and positive introduction to the sport. There will also be a 10-and-under tournament on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Those in attendance will have an opportunity to rub elbows with the best players in the world. On Monday, former Wimbledon semifinalist Meredith McGrath and former Top 10 player Brenda Schultz-McCarthy will be on site to speak about their experiences on tour. That same day, members of the public are invited to attend an interactive press conference with players competing in the tournament this year.
Moreover, on Friday adults can also play alongside the pros during a cardio tennis clinic, and several players will travel to local schools throughout the week to speak with students.
At 25 years, the Dow Corning Tennis Classic is the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit—and the third-longest running overall, trailing only men’s events in Little Rock, Ark., and Aptos, Calif.
The event has also long been known as a breeding ground for the champions of tomorrow. Former world No. 1 and current French Open champion Maria Sharapova, 2011 French Open champion Li Na, 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and Olympic gold medalist Justine Henin and former Top 10 player Anna Kournikova are among the top players who have previously competed in Midland.
Three Top 100 players, two of which are Americans, are scheduled to compete in Midland this year alongside a bevy of promising U.S. players. Among those featured players are world No. 91 Lauren Davis and world No. 99 CoCo Vandeweghe. 2009 US Open quarterfinalist and 2011 US Open mixed doubles champion Melanie Oudin was scheduled to compete but withdrew when she was named to the U.S. Fed Cup team as an injury replacement.
Other prominent Americans in the main draw include 2012 US Open junior champion Samantha Crawford, 2011 Pan American Games gold medalist Irina Falconi and tour veteran Jill Craybas, while notable Americans in the qualifying draw include 2012 Girls’ 18s champion Victoria Duval and 2012 year-end No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend.