You didn’t have to venture far into Macon to realize tennis players invaded during Thrusday evening. Bright and early Friday morning –8:00AM early, match play started for the 1,100 plus junior tennis players participating in the 2012 USTA Jr. Team Tennis Georgia State Championships. The event, hosted by the Macon Tennis Association, needed five tennis facilities to accommodate the 105 teams entered. Bibb County public park, John Drew Smith Tennis Center holds 'main site' status throughout the event.
Teams had to qualify at local levels to enter the state championships and winners here advance to either section or national rounds. Play format called or No-Ad two out of three short sets(to four) with a tiebreaker in lieu of the third set. Teams played singles and doubles in both genders and one mixed match. Game wins are tallied with the winners entering championship rounds to be played on Sunday.
Local players, Sara Griffin and Dayana Shuler lost to opponents, Emily Surcey and Lauren Strickland during the MTA – MacMillan vs EVTA – Bush team match. However, Griffin and Shuler gave their opponents a scare, especially during the second set.
“If it goes to the tiebreaker,” Surcey said to Strickland, ‘we can do this.”
For Shuler, Friday’s play marked the first ever on state championship courts. “I’m glad we played here at home,” she said. “I can get car sick on an empty stomach. And, I have never competed on any other courts in Georgia.”
Cayton Pope, 13-year old Warner Robins resident picked up a racquet five years ago. “We played a difficult team,” she said. “They(her opponents) were all very good. I feel like we all did out best. That’s what matters, we all had fun.” Pope, player of the MidGA – Wharton team faced SWG – Delk in their second round match.
For other teams, obtaining one team win scored high on the To Do List this weekend. “Last year we didn’t win any matches at all, said Reid Wright of the ATA – Wright team out of Albany. “A team match win was the goal.”
Showing team spirit was another Wright team goal. The team walked on court wearing team shirts that two of its players helped design. Taking their cue form a Babolat design, they printed the team name on the front and substituted the word, ‘Babolat’ written on the back with player last names. “We assigned numbers,” said Joyner Tyson, co-designer. “Tennis players don’t usually wear numbers and we anted everyone to have a number.”
Completion runs through Sunday where final championship rounds will conclude at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center. For online results, visit www.USTAGeorgia.com.