After the dust settled, we awarded a total of $16,525 in prize money this year. According to ITF regulations, we are required to give $15,000 to the Open Divisions (men’s, women’s, quads in open.) The ITF has an exact calculation of the amount of prize money for each open division that we must follow. Then, the remaining prize money was given to the A, B and C divisions which included some first-time players who are always so excited to receive a prize money check. We make a big production of the awards and Big Checks and send photos to all the players. Paul Pittman, President of USTA-SC was on hand for the awards and photos.
The week began with a TV interview on local WHHI-TV with defending champions, Lucy Shuker, from England and Gordon Reid, from Scotland. The segment aired throughout the week encouraging the town to come out and enjoy the tournament. Tuesday also featured an article and photos covering the Wheelchair Tournament on the front page of the sports section of the local paper.
Wednesday featured our Warmup Drill Clinic for players of all levels. PTR Pros were on each court running skill-appropriate drills so the players could "hit some balls." We had 84 entries this year. Our youngest player, Hayden Sipple, age 11, from South Carolina.
Thursday evening was our Cookout at the Courts and our Run/Roll tournament. This is the new initiative to get wheelchair players integrated with able-bodied players. Our Run/Roll event had 24 teams. This allowed 24 able-bodied players from the area to get out and play with a wheelchair partner in a regular doubles format.
For this event, we recruited the High School tennis teams, local league players and even the wives and family members of the wheelchair players for a fun-filled evening.
We also had two Featured Night Matches – men’s open singles and quad open doubles first round matches. This was under the lights for a US OPEN-type atmosphere. This allows more of the working islanders to come out and watch the matches.
This year we held early rounds of the letter divisions at Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort which was well-received by the players. The resort was very accommodating and had a beautiful quiet setting with some shade. The residents were very supportive and came out to cheer on the competition.
Our defending Men’s Open Champion had an easy time of reclaiming his title only losing 12 games along the way. In the final, Gordon Reid, of Scotland defeated Yoshinobu Fujimoto to take home the $1,500 check and his name engraved on the Tournament Cup. Reid and Marc McCarroll, of England, joined forces to take home the Men’s Open Doubles title too defeating Mendez and Rodhborn.
The Brits also had a great showing on the women’s side with Lucy Shuker taking the women’s crown in the final against Emmy Kaiser. She teamed up with fellow Brit, Jordanne Whiley, to capture the Doubles Title over Kaiser and Mardones. See all the results on the PTR website at www.ptrtennis.org
In the Quad division, defending Champion and PTR member, Bryan Barten, of Arizona took home the Singles Title and also teamed with Jason Miller for the Doubles team.
This year’s event received extensive coverage including a segment on regional television WJCL-TV out of Savannah, Georgia as well as 2 spots on the local WHHI-TV. Local coverage in newspaper and magazines including 2 photos and stories on the front page of the Sports Section. The coverage continues on various media such as Facebook and USTA National and Sectional websites.
In our follow-up to the event, we will be using a photo from the wheelchair tournament on the cover of our TennisPro Magazine.
The PTR and PTR Foundation continue to … make tennis available to everyone and we are pleased to support Wheelchair Tennis.