A vision in white | AspenTimes.com

A vision in white

May Eynon

The Snowmass Club hosted the eighth annual “Wood Racquet Classic” tennis tournament on Saturday, Sept. 20, on its outdoor clay courts.

Players were invited to come dressed as their favorite tennis celebrity or clad in classic white. Wooden racquets were provided for the afternoon unless participants wanted to bring their own. Snowmass Club head tennis pro Todd Grange offered loaners from his personal collection, acquired over the years from yard sales, friends’ closets and thrift shops.

Mimosas, strawberries and bagels were offered on a courtside banquet table throughout the tournament.

“At least I can blame my equipment and claim I was drunk if I lose today,” stated one player who requested anonymity.

In vintage tennis fashion, the rules differed from those of the modern game. Grange carefully explained the formula for the “mixed-up, mixed-doubles mixer.” There would be a series of six rounds of tennis, and games would be played with original white balls. Each time, the teams would be made up of different individuals and assigned to different courts. Instead of playing sets, each pair of mixed-doubles partners would play four games with no-ad scoring, enabling each person to serve a game and the set to be short and sweet.

Afterward, players were to return to the score table and report their wins or losses. At the end of the six rounds, the top two females would play one another in a singles match, as would the two males with the most wins.

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Grange advised participants to expect less of their wood racquets than of their usual equipment, as they hadn’t been strung in years, weigh considerably more than modern racquets and have a much smaller head. “[The racquet] you’re used to playing with averages around 110 square inches or more. These racquets have about a 65-square-inch head. The challenge is to hit the ball in the middle, which you’ll soon discover is not that easy.”

After posing for a group photo, Grange dispatched all players to their respective courts for round number one, advising, “You must be present to win.”

Following a couple of hours’ worth of unforced errors, whiffs and home runs, as well as several cases of top-spin, a few reported aces and serves reaching speeds up to 55 mph, the top two men and women were identified. Each pair played one-on-one in the traditional 9-point playoff. Spectators politely clapped after each impressive rally. Julie Fees emerged victorious as the winning female; tennis pro Hans Hohl was deemed champion among the men.

Silver clocks were presented to Fees and Hohl as first-place prizes. Bob Lucas and Donna Young were also awarded clocks for best-dressed male and best-dressed female.

“This tournament can be a bit competitive at times, but it’s all in fun,” noted Mark Volf, the Snowmass Club’s director of athletics. “It’s just a great social event that ends our season.”

To inquire about other upcoming tennis tournaments, clinics or lessons at the Snowmass Club, contact the pro shop at 923-0818.

To contact May to send info, insight or invites, email: allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com

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