Tahoe Tennis Classic moving toward finale
The Tahoe Tennis Classic got underway this week, bringing hundreds of players to Zephyr Cove Tennis Club (ZCTC). The tournament will conclude Sunday, when the winners of each division will be crowned.
According to Carolyn Wright, president at ZCTC, this year set a record with 215 participants. “This is the 34th year for the tournament,” said Wright. “This is [Zephyr Cove Tennis Club’s} fourth year to run the tournament.”
Originally started by locals Hersch and Sheryl Herschman, the tournament has become well-know, nationally, in the club tennis circuit and attracts players from all over the country.
“The popularity of this tournament has been skyrocketing,” said tournament director Bob Beutenmiller. “People come because of the quality of play, value and fun atmosphere.”
The tournament is for doubles only and play is double-elimination. According to Wright, there will be 14 divisions comprised of men, women and mixed competitors. Wright said that they do have a lot of players who are in more advanced divisions, but they’ve been able to add a couple extra divisions that include more women and recreational players.
The tournament features doubles of several age groups, with a division going up to a combined age of 130 or higher.
Wright explained that since the tournament isn’t sanctioned, it opens up the opportunity for more players to come out and enjoy play without it affecting their record.
“This tournament isn’t sanctioned, so it doesn’t affect your ratings,” said Wright. “Everybody is really here for the camaraderie, the competition and the fun. Everybody comes out and supports each other. It’s just as much fun as it is a good tennis competition.”
Becky LeBuhn, of Glenbrook, has several Tahoe Tennis Classics under her belt and said the tournament is of the summer highlights for her. “It’s a great event and a lot of fun,” she said. “I’m always meeting people and making friends out here.”
LeBuhn isn’t too shabby at playing either. She, along with Wright, have doubled together in the past and came close to winning it all in their division.
“Carolyn and I were partners several years ago and we did extremely well,” said LeBuhn. “We got to the finals and lost in a heartbreaker.”
LeBuhn remarked that one of the best parts of the tournament is the laid-back atmosphere that other tournaments don’t have.
“It’s a unique tournament because it’s so relaxed,” she said. “People do care and want to win, but it doesn’t have the same kind of intensity as [United States Tennis Association] tournaments. People come from all over the country. I’m playing this year and my partner is from Texas.”
Tom Petrizzio, of Zephyr Cove, came out for his second shot at the tournament and said he’s been faring well so far, even though he’s a relatively new player.
“I did it last year and I will do it every year,” he said. “This is just an awesome tournament. How could you not like tennis in Lake Tahoe?” Petrizzio said that he’s only been playing five years, but made it to the semifinals in his division, last year.
There will be some other players from around the basin who are going to be stiff competition. Duane and Hannelore Catania, of Incline Village, are on their games. The Catania’s, along with their son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter are looking to make the tournament a family affair.
ZCTC is a 501(c) nonprofit and proceeds from the tournament will help promote tennis around the region.