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Missouri Valley / St. Louis

One-Night Tournaments Bring Fun, Competition

Josh Sellmeyer | February 23, 2021

 

Adult players looking for an enjoyable, social and competitive evening of tennis should check out the One-Night Tournaments hosted by the USTA St. Louis district.

 

That’s according to Paul Gontarz, who has regularly participated in the one-night events which typically take place once a month. Gontarz has played in the One-Night Tournaments for about the past three years, and he said the chance to play with and against friends keeps him coming back for more.

 

“I love playing as much as I can, so any opportunity to play people and compete is fun,” Gontarz said. “I have friends who I enjoy playing the events with. That’s kind of the most important thing is you get to see some friends, play competitive tennis with friends and often against them.”

 

Players 18 & over and all skill levels are invited to join in on the action. Gontarz noted he has seen players in their 70s competing. The tourneys take place on Saturday evenings with a start time of approximately 6:00 p.m. and an end time of 9:00/10:00 p.m. The next available offering is Saturday, March 27 at 6:00 p.m. at Forest Lake Tennis Club in Chesterfield.

 

“There are a lot of great people who do it; a lot of fun people,” Gontarz said. “If you like that competitive aspect — that tournament feel — it gives you that while still maintaining the social and fun feel also.”

 

While most One-Night Tournaments offer mixed doubles play, more men’s and women’s doubles events are being planned. Participants can expect to play multiple matches, as there are consolation matchups for teams that falter early in the tourney. Winners and runners-up can receive various awards in the form of trophies or gift cards.

 

Gontarz said there are usually six to eight teams competing in each of the more popular divisions of 7.0 and 8.0. These events have been known to reach capacity at each of the available divisions of 6.0, 7.0. 8.0 and 9.0. Sometimes an open division is available for more advanced players.

 

The One-Night Tournaments occur year-round, though sometimes summer months like July and August are bypassed due to other USTA leagues and tournaments going on. Creve Coeur Racquet Club, Forest Lake Tennis Club and Woodsmill Tennis Club in Chesterfield are popular hosting facilities. Dwight Davis Tennis Center and Clayton’s Shaw Park have also been utilized for outdoor tournaments.

 

In addition to all the tennis action, entrants receive food provided by USTA St. Louis. That’s included in the price of the ticket, with the cost varying depending on facility and time of year.

 

USTA St. Louis has experimented with different scoring formats at these events. Gontarz said both eight-game pro-sets and Fast4 tennis sets have been used previously.

 

Individuals interested in learning more about the One-Night Tournaments or participating in them can reach out to Jill Kunkel, USTA St. Louis adult league coordinator. Kunkel can be contacted via email at: leagues@ustastl.com

 

“There’s definitely the competitive aspect at One-Night Tournaments, but I think mostly people aren’t taking themselves too, too seriously,” Gontarz said. “It’s a good time to get everybody together — people who enjoy playing. Have a little competition and have a little fun.”

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