There is still time to sign up for one of the more unique tennis tournaments in our area.
Registration is open for the seventh annual Flowertown Festival Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament to be held during the festival, but the registration deadline is 7 p.m. April 2. The registration fee is $15 per player.
Located in the heart of the festival at the Azalea Park Courts just off Main Street, the tournament has featured some quality tennis action for the past six years. Mixed doubles matches for nine age groups will play out April 4 from 5-9:30 p.m., April 5 from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and April 6 from 1 p.m. until only the age division champions are standing.
Divisions range from 12 and under to 50 and over. However, Pine Forest Country Club holds an adult tournament during the festival each year so the junior divisions tend to be more competitive.
ìThis tournament attracts some of the area's top junior players,î tournament founder Greg Hancox explained. ìLast yearís participants included state-ranked juniors Meagan Evans, Kristen Farmer, Caroline Green, Joel Roberts, Zac Dye, Micah Dye, Avery Holoubek, Conner Clayton, and southern-ranked players Meghan Blevins and Adam Elliget. The field included the top players from Summerville High School, Fort Dorchester High School, Pinewood Prep and Rollings Middle School.î
Because the tournament isnít sanctioned, the juniors can play a riskier style because they donít have to be concerned with protecting their ranking.
ìThey love it because they know they can just get out on the court and have fun,î Hancox said. ìBecause it is a mixed tournament, many of them get to play with friends who they donít normally get a chance to play with.î
Over the last few years, the tournament's Parent/Child division has also became very popular.
"Last year it was our biggest division," Hancox said. "Not many tournaments offer players a chance to compete with a parent. And, we don't limit it to only parents. If a junior wants to sign up with an older aunt or uncle or something like that, it's fine."
In conjunction with the tournament, the Charleston Southern University tennis team will conduct a free youth tennis clinic Sunday at noon. Loaner racquets will be available.
ìThe clinic is great for players of all abilities,î Hancox said. ìItís a great place for beginners to come to learn how to hit. For advanced players, itís a chance to get a free lesson from college players. We put the beginners on a separate court because the clinicians really put the advanced players through the mill. They run the same high-level drills that they use at CSU practices, covering techniques ranging from handling volleys and charging the net to serves.î
To register or for more information, call 830-5351.