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Tennis tournament brings 700 players to the LOU

Tennis courts across the LOU community hosted the Mississippi Tennis Association 40 and over state championships this weekend, with nearly 700 participants coming to town for their chance at a title.

Matches were held at the FNC Tennis Center, Goose Creek Club, The Country Club of Oxford, Avent Park and the Turner Center Courts. Mike Young, program director for Oxford Park Commission, said pulling off the tournament was a collaborative effort between MSTA, OPC and the other organizations involved.

“The Mississippi Tennis Association and also our Oxford Community Tennis Association here has worked closely together to put out all information and do scheduling and all of that,” Young said. “Oxford has a draw just in the town itself, but we also have premier courts here and great courts for people to play on.”

The teams playing in this year’s state championship were some of the best in the state, and many put up a good fight to keep themselves in the running.

Nina Tomlinson, who played on one of the many teams from Jackson, said all the hard work was worth getting to spend the weekend at the championships.

“A lot of people don’t realize what you have to do to make it to this tournament,” Tomlinson said. “These people had to win in their region in order to qualify for this state tournament, so they’re really some of the best of the best.”

The 2018  championships marks the eighth year in a row a tournament of this size was held in Oxford. This specific 40 and over state championship was held in Jackson in the past, but Vicki Ferguson, with the Oxford Community Tennis Association, said bringing it to Oxford meant more people got to experience what makes the town so special.

Thanks to the lack of a super regional baseball tournament this past weekend, many were afraid of lost revenue during an already slow time of the year for Oxford. However, Ferguson said the tennis players in town over the weekend helped to put a little boost in the local economy.

“Normally this would be a weekend where there wasn’t much going on,” Ferguson said. “Tennis players love to eat and shop, so it’s great for our city, with shopping and dining and hotels. I’ve heard that a tennis tournament of this size can generate a revenue of $80,000 to $100,000 a day for a three-day weekend, so I think that’s great to bring to our city.”