Top-level players on island gather for Hilton Head Open

ccox@islandpacket.comAugust 23, 2013 

Cincinnati Tennis

Grigor Dimitrov, of Bulgaria, returns a volley to Nicolas Almagro, of Spain, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

TOM UHLMAN — File -- The Associated Press

The numbers for this year's edition of the Hilton Head Open were a bit of a disappointment for tournament director Jim Stubbs. But that won't stop him or any of the area's top tennis players this weekend as they prepare to match wits on the courts at the Van Der Meer Shipyard Tennis Resort.

"I'm always excited to run a tournament," Stubbs said. "I wish it was a little bit bigger draw than what's it's going to be, but it is what it is."

Thirty entrants have signed up for this year's tournament, compared to the 55 that took part in 2012. That number is well off the 100 Stubbs one day envisions signing up, but that doesn't mean the weekend won't have its share of memorable moments.

The Hilton Head Open is still loaded with high-level players, as Stubbs expects strong matchups in the men's 4.0 and mixed 8.0 divisions. He had hoped some of Hilton Head Island's stronger 3.0 players would take part but will cope without them in 2013.

The tournament will feature a men's open, men's 4.0, mixed 8.0 and mixed open division.

"I fully expected the higher division to definitely fill," he said. "We've got a very strong 3.0 and 3.5 group of players on the island that play actively in the USTA leagues and the interclub leagues. I really thought 3.0 had a great opportunity to play a nice tournament before the end of summer."

Matches begin at 5 p.m. Friday and run through Sunday. Admission is free. A silent auction will be held to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Hilton Head Open

What: Tennis tournament with men's open, men's 4.0, mixed 8.0 and mixed open divisions.

Where: Van Der Meer Shipyard Tennis Resort, Hilton Head Island

When: Friday through Sunday

Admission: Free

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