Athletes to swarm Tennis Center for Intermountain 12-and-younger Memorial Day Championship

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— The world’s best tennis players are battling it out this weekend in France. The wave of what could be some of the next best players from the United States, meanwhile, will take the court in Steamboat Springs this weekend during the 17th annual Intermountain 12-and-under Memorial Day Championship at the Tennis Center.

The event will attract players from a wide swath of the mountain West, including Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

“There are probably 30 alumni of this event who have gone on to play collegiately,” tournament director Jim Swiggart said. “It’s certainly a fun way to come see the future of tennis in our region and potentially the country.”

The tournament, free to the public, gets under way at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. It will continue Sunday, and finals matches will begin as early as 9:30 a.m. Monday, with action wrapping up at about 2 p.m.

A trio of local athletes will get their chance in the tournament. Tami Katthain, Tatum Burger and Hayden Snyder will play.

“They’ve been playing tournaments in our state and our region and this is a chance for them to continue developing their skills against the best players in the region,” Swiggart said. “They’ve all already developed very, very well and this is an opportunity for them to continue that on their home courts.”

Swiggart said the tournament is a great opportunity for him, too. He requires that parents and athletes attend an orientation session before the weekend’s first match. There, he strives to help the young players get started with successful careers.

“This is the tournament where I get the kids who will probably continue playing tournament tennis, and the tournament where I can have the most impact on how they behave at future tournaments,” Swiggart said. “I go over their responsibilities as far as match preparation, and tell them to depend on themselves, that they will be responsible for checking the time for their next match and for remembering their equipment, water and sunscreen. That way, I can prepare them for the future tournament lives.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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