Locals to battle at Steamboat Springs tennis tournament

Event features more than 120 players

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If you go

What: Steamboat City Singles and Doubles Tennis Champ­ion­ships

When: 4 p.m. today through 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs

— Some tournaments at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs pit locals against regional rivals. Others set children against one another in lighthearted matches, and much of the play that goes on is more about burning calories than firing forehands.

The Steam­boat City Singles and Doubles Tennis Championships, which begin at 4 p.m. today and run through the weekend, are not about laughs and pats on the back, however.

“A lot of our tennis here is social,” tournament director Jim Swiggart said. “This tournament, though, is the culmination for the year for competition. Those in town who like to compete sign up for this one.”

That prospect apparently appeals to a large number of people.

This year’s brackets will include 122 players, a record field encompassing players in eighth grade and older.

The biggest names playing in Steamboat tennis will be on hand for the tournament, which should wrap up its final rounds at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Defending overall champ Greg Sussman, one of the Tennis Center’s pros, will play.

Steamboat Springs High School seniors Keegan Burger and Jack Burger will play after deep runs in this year’s Class 4A state tennis tournament.

Top competition will come from Louis Nijsten, the No. 2 seed in the Men’s Masters bracket, who beat Sussman in the tournament a year ago, and Grice Hooker and Jeff Oehrlein, who, with the Burger brothers, round out that bracket.

Laurie Buelow, Fabiola Kat­thain and Christi Valicenti will battle it out in the top women’s division.

More than 100 other players will try their chances in 16 divisions of singles and doubles tennis.

The event is free to watch.

“The courts are completely booked, and we have a great draw,” Swiggart said.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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