Bringing The City of Charleston Tennis Championship Back To Life

by Rob Rosenblum

"I am not just running a tournament. I am re-launching a 50 year old event and want to re- position it permanently in the local tennis community". Those are the words of Davy Hairston, head pro of the Charleston Tennis Center (CTC) as he prepared to revive the long defunct City of Charleston Tennis Championships.

A short history. The tournament was brought to life in 1962, and featured some of the best tennis talent the Charleston area had to offer. Hairston himself, as a rising young talent, won it in his youth and it remains one of his proudest accomplishments. Then, as USTA leagues began to rise in popularity, tournaments began to dwindle, and this pride of Charleston disappeared in 2004.

"Sometimes it feels as if I've bitten
off more than I can chew"

The plaques on the wall of the CTC that boast the names of people like Mary Gastly, Diane Barker, Brian Minton, Angelo Anastopoulo and others are the only ghostly remains of the premier area event. As Court Times Charleston reported several months ago, Hairston was on a mission to change all that. And it appears that he has begun to make some palpable inroads.

This singular celebration had, in the past, featured NTRP, junior and senior events as well as an open draw. Hairston hopes that will be part of the future, but the first unveiling will be limited to open men's, women's and mixed singles and doubles.

"The tournament will be open only to entrants who reside in Charleston, Berkley and Dorchester," explained Hairston in a recent interview. "It will allow players to play in a social setting, but compete for best player in the city."
"Sometimes it feels as if I've bitten off more than I can chew," the pro confessed. "It's a lot harder to start a ball rolling than to keep it rolling."

The hardest part was trying to find a date that would fit into the crowded tennis calendar that has defined the area for quite some time. Where as people used to keep the date open when the tournament was king, now they have to find a way to punch in a new one.

"People are definitely interested, but it is still too early to tell if it will be the great event we are hoping for," said Hairston.

The tournament will begin on September 20th and run through the 25th. The modest entry fee of $52 get you into both singles and doubles as well as a first round consolation draw in singles.

Hairston is working hard to attract support from the business community in order to defray costs and offer the best possible tournament. So far Center Court, Bird Hardware, C.T. Loundes and Whole Foods is on board. As a result, there will be a free player party, and prize money for the singles and doubles finalists.

Side attractions for the event will be a free clinic for kids on Saturday and potentially a Special Olympics demonstration.

The event does not affect rankings and does not require USTA membership, although the USTA is providing a web page for people to sign up for the tournament and obtain all relevant information. Just go to http://tinyurl.com/char trny to register on line and to get all up to date information.

You can reach Hairston at 843-766 -7401 or 843-769-8285.

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