Tennis offseason virtually non-existent in Beaufort County

Spring season under way with new league in the fold

January 29, 2009 

So much for an offseason. One doesn’t exist in the tennis community in Beaufort County. That much I’ve learned in my short time here.

This tennis column may have taken a monthlong break for the winter — I know my legion of readers undoubtedly missed me dearly — but you all have continued on without me.

It seems like just yesterday the winter season ended (which it did), and now the USTA Spring Adult League and the USTA Spring Senior League seasons are already here. Each began earlier this week.

But they certainly haven’t come without some changes.

For the first time, the adult and senior leagues in Beaufort County have been split into two parts. All teams that originate from Hilton Head Island or Moss Creek — and even Daufuskie Island for the first time this year — remain part of the Hilton Head Island district, or TAHHI. But all other teams in Beaufort County have joined to form the new Coastal Carolina Tennis Association (CCTA).

“It says everything about the growth of tennis in this area, that we would need two leagues,” said Dennis Malick, who has been part of the Hilton Head Island tennis community for 27 years. “The bottom line is we have more players playing than we did last year ... again. It just seems to keep growing.”

The split was implemented late last fall, but it only affected the super senior leagues. Still, in just one short season, the Fall Super Senior League managed to provide a good example of the benefits of splitting tennis teams into two leagues in Beaufort County — more than one local team can now qualify for the state tournament. Hilton Head Island and Coastal Carolina teams combined for 10 super senior state championships at the Wild Dunes Racquet Club in mid-November, which means all of them qualified for the Southern Section Championships in March. As you can probably figure out, some of those teams likely would have been left out had they been competing against one another during the regular season.

“That’s definitely one advantage of this,” Malick said. “With the competition and the number of teams in this area, we deserve that.”

Of course, it remains to be seen how the change will affect the adult and senior leagues. We’ll find out as the season progresses.

But in the meantime, I’m curious to find out what your thoughts are on the league split and what it means to league tennis in Beaufort County, especially if you’re competing for one of the 178 teams this spring in Beaufort County. Do you favor or oppose it?

Log on to http://www2.islandpacket.com/matchpoint to access my newly formed Match Point blog and add your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say. The Match Point blog also will be a place to find more tennis news during the weeks between my rotation of columns.

COURT REPAIRS

The four oldest courts at the Chaplin Public Tennis Center are closed this week for resurfacing. Barring any setbacks from weather, the project is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

Four courts at Cordillo were resurfaced last week, an undertaking that already has been completed. Those courts remain open to the public.

PTR ADDS SEMINARS

As part of its International Tennis Symposium, the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) is adding a “High School Coaches Tract” to its annual event on Feb. 14-16.

The High School Coaches Tract includes a series of courses and seminars designed to help coaches teach their students in a variety of areas. The registration price is $199, or $149 for existing PTR members. For more information, go to www.ptrtennis.org online.

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