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Midwest

Wisconsin Tennis Ambassadors' Tournament a Smash

August 21, 2020

Our Tennis Ambassadors are crucial to the success of the promotion and growth of the sport throughout the Midwest. As Ambassadors to the Section, these men and women work tirelessly to provide all players with opportunities to get out on the court and play. As clubs recover across the Midwest from the devastating effects of COVID-19, the ambassadors have proven now more than ever that they are a crucial piece in bringing players back to the court.

 

One such Ambassador-led event that has players buzzing was the recent Fox Cities World Tour doubles event that took place at the Sand Valley Resort in Wisconsin in late June. The tournament boasted men's and women's combo doubles in three categories with mixed doubles in the afternoon, as well as a flight of singles play. The event came from the hard work and dedication of two Wisconsin Tennis Ambassadors, Ivor Addo and Deb Driscoll.

Addo first started organizing Fox Cities World Tour tournaments in 2018 as a way to involve players from around the Fox Cities, such as Appleton, Oshkosh and Green Bay. Addo saw it as a way to promote healthy competition for players that might not be affiliated with USTA tennis.

 

As Addo continued organizing these events, the interest and competition only grew. Following the tournament Addo hosted in May, one player suggested hosting another tournament at the Sand Valley Golf Resort where 15 state-of-the-art grass tennis courts live. Addo believed this could be an even bigger opportunity for players to come together safely after months apart, so the wheels began turning.

Addo worked closely with Driscoll to not only tap into her pool of players but to also include the USTA Wisconsin District. Driscoll worked with the District to secure prizes for the event, which lowered the price of registration substantially.  From there, the event was a smash hit. Addo and Driscoll were pleased to see an overwhelming response from players. Spots for the tournament were filled in just 10 days, as players looked forward to playing on grass, a first for many.

 

"People have been disappointed by COVID-19 restrictions regarding tennis play since March and with the cancellation of many USTA Leagues, they couldn't wait for an opportunity to play socially," said Driscoll.

 

Both Driscoll and Addo were careful to advise players to adhere to the USTA safety guidelines and created a safe space for competitors.

 

"I think we wanted to get a lot of people out to play because a lot of folks were not keen on playing indoors during the pandemic," said Addo. "A number of players appeared more comfortable with playing outdoors."

 

Sand Valley was the perfect spot to host this tournament because of the spacing of the courts to encourage social distancing.

 

Because the tournament was so successful and the support from the Sand Valley staff was overwhelming, another tournament has been scheduled for later in July. Addo and Driscoll are looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces during what they hope is an even better tournament than the last.

 

"The social aspect is great because most of our club members are not playing this summer...so being able to connect with some of the folks we know and play competitive tennis has been exciting for me," said Addo.

 

As Tennis Ambassadors, Addo and Driscoll have enjoyed meeting new players and connecting.

 

"I love bringing people together for tennis and enjoyed seeing some new faces amongst the participants," said Driscoll. "It's always exciting getting to know players and talking to them about tennis and USTA Leagues in their areas."

 

"We're able to get more people out and playing and enjoying the game again, getting back into things," Addo added.

 

Wisconsin tennis is slowly on the rise once more, and Addo and Driscoll will remain at the forefront in welcoming players back home to the courts.

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