Shipyard's clay courts home to women's $10,000 tennis event

ccox@islandpacket.comOctober 1, 2013 

As if Jim Stubbs didn't have enough to do, the tennis director has tacked on a few more chores this week at the Van Der Meer Shipyard Women's $10,000 Event.

Stubbs is traditionally accustomed with the hard courts located at the facility's primary tennis center on Hilton Head Island. But he will find himself working this week with the clay courts at Shipyard Resort, which is hosting a professional tennis event for the first time in three decades.

"It's been awesome," Stubbs said. "The draw has just been raving about the facility and being on clay. ... They love the hospitality of Hilton Head and just being back."

Stubbs' busy days will get even busier for this event, as he and the Van Der Meer staff must maintain the clay courts after each and every match, which continues Tuesday afternoon when the 32-player main draw begins. He and his colleagues will have to groom, sweep and realign each court to keep the tournament on track, which concludes with the singles final Sunday at 10 a.m.

"The burden on the host facility is four times as great (with clay courts), just making sure you have the manpower and the people there to do everything and make sure that it runs smoothly," Stubbs said. "Fortunately, it's been going very well -- like clockwork."

That couldn't be better news for the Shipyard Resort, which is hosting its first professional event since the World Championship Tennis Grand Prix in 1982 and 1983, when Ivan Lendl edged Guillermo Vilas in an epic final.

The tournament found its way back to Hilton Head Island after another host site dropped out earlier this year. The Women's Tennis Association quickly approached Van Der Meer for help, which was happy to oblige.

"The girls have just been very, very great," Stubbs said. "As nice as can be. They're all competing hard and stuff. I think they're really enjoying the Hilton Head surroundings and such a beautiful place to play."

The 64-draw qualifying event concluded Monday, which paved the way for even better competition as play continues. The $10K event Van Der Meer hosted in the spring featured 128 players in its draw, and this time was forced to turn players away before the tournament began.

"They all hit a pretty tough ball," Stubbs said.

Van Der Meer Shipyard Women's $10,000 Event

Where: Shipyard Resort

When: Tuesday through Sunday with play beginning each day at 10 a.m.

Admission: Free

Etc.: The singles final is set for 10 a.m. Sunday with the doubles final beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. Saturday. ... This is the first professional tennis tournament at the Shipyard Resort in three decades.

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