Tennis takes center stage

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, April 10, 2014

: Zuni's Catherine Hudson, 9, participates Wednesday in the Suffolk tennis program at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex.

: Zuni’s Catherine Hudson, 9, participates Wednesday in the Suffolk tennis program at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex.

Suffolk Parks and Recreation is once again creating the forum for tennis players of all ages and abilities to play, develop and demonstrate their skills at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex on Holly Lawn Parkway behind Farm Fresh.

The second annual Howard Mast Tennis Day will be held on April 26, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those registering for the free event will have opportunities like playing in a tournament and participating in skill drills. There may even be separate adult and youth tournaments, depending on the number of participants.

In addition to directly tennis-related activities, there will be bounce houses, face painting, a clown for the kids, a disc jockey and lunch.

Seven-year-old Malechi Thomas participates Wednesday in the Suffolk tennis program at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex.

Seven-year-old Malechi Thomas participates Wednesday in the Suffolk tennis program at the Howard Mast Tennis Complex.

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Janice Henderson of Suffolk Parks and Recreation explained why people should spend part of their Saturday at the tennis courts.

“They should come out because this is something that you don’t have to separate yourself from your family to do,” she said. “This is a family event. Everybody can participate.”

Registration is required for all attendees, and those competing in tennis events should bring their own racket.

“Rackets will be given if they don’t have one, but they will be limited, because I only have a certain number,” Henderson said.

If there are enough players to afford both adult and youth tourneys, competitors can pick which one they play in based on either their age or ability level.

There will be four skill drill stations, allowing players to practice and exhibit their forehand and backhand groundstrokes, volleying and serving.

Points will be given to those garnering wins in tournament play and to those successfully completing the drills. Those with the most points at the end of the day from each activity will receive trophies.

An overall winner for the day will also be decided. Those playing in a tournament can earn points in larger chunks, but someone can do skill drills only all day and still have a chance to win, like last year’s overall winner.

“He did all the skill drills, and he did it multiple times, beating out the tournament players,” Henderson said.

She boiled down what Howard Mast Tennis Day is all about.

“The primary goal of the event is to let the public know that there’s other things besides football, basketball and soccer being done for Suffolk Parks and Rec,” she said, with hope that the occasion will grow the sport of tennis in Suffolk.

She added that attendees will get to see and experience the Howard Mast Tennis Complex, and previously noted that participants will benefit from the blend of cardio and muscle-building that tennis provides.

Registration will be allowed up until the day of the event, but Henderson said it is strongly preferred that registration be completed by April 16 to give her an idea of how to structure tournament play and of how much food will be needed.

For more information or to register, contact Henderson at jhenderson@suffolkva.us or 514-7243.