Saturday, August 21, 2004
A high level of competition, friendly players and a love for tennis have drawn almost 300 players to the Tennis Center for this year's Steamboat Springs National Tennis Ranking Program Championships.
The tournament began Thursday, with finals scheduled throughout today. Despite rain delays Thursday and Friday that forced matches indoors, the competition is "right on schedule," tournament director Don Toy said.
"We did 120 matches (Friday) and will have 50 or 60 (Saturday)," he said.
The players in this weekend's tournament range in age from 18 to mid-60s. Instead of divisions broken down by age, as in junior play, the NTRP tournament divisions go by ability level, ranging from 3.0 to 5.0.
Men's and women's singles and doubles divisions, along with a mixed doubles competition, were offered. Players can earn points from winning matches in the tournament to improve their rankings, Toy said.
A large number of the weekend's players were from out of town, some from as far as Florida, Idaho and Arizona.
Player Michael Macketti made the drive from Denver to play in the tournament for the fifth year in a row.
"We love coming up here," Macketti said. "It's a great tournament with great people." Macketti and his partner, Craig Stromberg, were seeded first in the men's 3.5 doubles division.
"It's been great," Stromberg said. "The weather's made scheduling tricky, but the schedulers did a good job."
This is Stromberg's first year competing in the Steamboat tournament.
Steamboat resident Dave Schaller, who played in the men's 4.5 singles and doubles division, said he enjoys facing new competition.
"It's such a pleasure to play all of the people from out of town that we don't get to play otherwise," he said. "It's nice to meet a lot of nice people."
Stromberg said that the players have been outgoing and welcoming, which only adds to the tournament's appeal.
"Everybody's been so friendly," he said. "That makes all the difference."