Memorial Adult and Wheelchair Open
Matt Case | May 14, 2019
This Memorial Weekend, Omaha’s Koch Family Tennis Center will be hosting its annual prize money event on May 24-27. The tournament this year will be offering both adult open divisions and a wheelchair division. This is the first year that the city of Omaha will have a wheelchair division in any adult tournament they host.
Tournament director Tracy Wright stated, “It is all about diversity. This decision (adding wheelchair division) points back to why we are here as an organization (Omaha Tennis Association). Our main goal is to grow the game of tennis by reaching out to the community and offering as many opportunities to play as possible. These need to include events that are not only for able body players but also wheelchair players…We hope by adding this wheelchair division that we can demonstrate to the city and people in our community what we stand for as an organization.”
“In the state, we have around five wheelchair competitors that play in tournaments, but hopefully we can draw in about a dozen total,” Tracy said.
The Memorial Adult and Wheelchair Open will be giving out $1,000 to the winners of each singles open division and $500 to the winning doubles teams.
Last year this tournament had just under 100 total competitors, but hopefully this year more people will be able to compete as the date is earlier in the summer than in years past. Being on Memorial Weekend they are able to play over 3 and a half days instead of two.
“The old timing of the previous money tournament always fell on the second weekend of the college world series. Because we attract a lot of people from out of town the cost of the hotels from the baseball crowds were pushing people away from playing,” Tracy said.
Along with the new wheelchair division, they are using a new scoring format this year. In the Fast Four Format sets are played to 4 games with a tiebreaker to 5 at 3 games all. A 7-point tiebreaker is played in lieu of the 3rd set. This popular new format has been making its way across the United States and allows for more matches to be completed in a single day. This will hopefully allow for the completion of some events in one day so players aren’t committed to the whole weekend.
“We want to get people out playing more tennis but not have to commit to a full weekend,” Tracy said.
Tracy will continue to look at different formats and evaluate how this year’s tournament goes to decide if the Fast Four format is something he wants to change for the other adult tournaments he runs in Omaha.
This tournament is part of a series of events hosted in Topeka, Kansas City and Wichita. The male and female competitors that earn the most points throughout all four tournaments will collect a bonus $500 of prize money.
Players must be a USTA member to register but this event is open to players of all skill levels. Wheelchair division competitors will even get their entry fee reimbursed and meals will be provided for all competitors on both Saturday and Sunday.