South Charlotte

Charlotte Indoor to host upcoming tennis tournament

Tennis enthusiasts can see rising women’s stars at the second annual Mr. Rogers Windows Charlotte Clay Classic June 8-14 at Charlotte Indoor Tennis Club.

The tournament is part of the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit, with a $10,000 purse.

The tourney will feature a main draw of 32 players consisting of women with world rankings, as well as some of the top collegiate and junior players from around the country and internationally.

“These are the future stars of tomorrow,” Tournament Director Tom Bossard said. “People who come out to watch will see an incredibly high quality of play from these ladies.”

Bossard said most of the players who come in with world rankings will be somewhere between 400-600 in the world. Last year’s winner, American Katerina Stewart, is ranked 161 in the world.

The Pro Circuit is not unlike minor league circuits in other sports, such as the Web.Com and Tar Heel Tours in golf. Players including Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Andy Murray and North Carolina native John Isner all came up through the USTA Pro Circuit.

There will be a qualifying draw for eight of the 32 main draw spots that will take place June 7-9, and the tournament will include a 16-team doubles draw.

There will also be an event June 8 in which local players can pay to play with one of the players in a round-robin event, followed by a celebrity mixed-doubles with the Observer’s Scott Fowler against Johan Kriek, with partners to be determined.

Kriek runs the Johan Kriek Tennis Academy in Charlotte and at one time was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world, winning the Australian Open twice among his 14 career professional titles.

Bossard said he isn’t sure exactly who will enter the tournament because rankings change and the USTA will give wild-card entries to players.One player who will be entered is Caroline Price, North Carolina Tar Heel womens’ player and the daughter of former Hornets and current Charlotte 49ers coach Mark Price.

One of the things Bossard said makes this event good for fans is how close they get to the players.

“The girls are so approachable and are so willing to engage with fans,” Bossard said. “That makes this tournament fun, not to mention you are so close to the courts when the girls are playing that you really see how hard they work and how they play at such a high level.”

Matt Kline is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Matt? Email him at mathew_kline@att.net.

Want to go?

Watch tennis free of charge. For information on the tournament, visit www.charlotteclayclassic.com.

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