ANDERSON — In its 34th year, the Community Hospital Anderson Tennis Classic has continued to grow since the tournament was restricted to only Madison County residents at its inception.
Now, kids 10 and younger can compete on courts next to players six or seven times their age and from all across Indiana.
Yet, one of the most popular trends in this summer’s tournament, which is being played at the Anderson University tennis courts until July 14, is how it can bring together families.
James and Terry Day have been coming to the Classic for the past four summers, and each time they’ve entered they’ve come away victorious in the Mother/Son division.
Terry has been playing tennis for 50 years and helped lead her son to love the sport when he was just a teenager 25 years ago, and ever since they’ve enjoyed getting the opportunity to play next to each other.
Both of them play on United States Tennis Association teams, but in those events, they’re left to cheer each other on rather than help rally with each other on the court. They try to practice together at least once a week, but the Classic is their only chance to compete with each other, James said.
“We enjoy it, and we have a good time. It’s a nice opportunity,” he said. “We’ve won every year we’ve played so we’ve got to keep coming back and try to hang on.”
On the other hand, for Glen Stoker, Saturday afternoon at AU was his first chance to play tennis alongside his daughter, Brandy, in a competitive atmosphere.
Glen took up tennis at a young age and enjoyed playing it recreationally throughout his high school years, but he introduced his daughter to the sport less than two years ago, and she’s loved it.
Brandy now plays tennis at Pendleton Heights, where she’ll be a sophomore in the fall, and her dad said the Classic was a way he could get her out into competition this summer, support her and enjoy time with his daughter at the same time.
And he hopes that in a few years, he can involve even more of his family, as his younger son begins to learn the ropes of the game.
“It was a wonderful event. We’ll do it again,” Glen said. “We’ve got a son coming up a little younger, and I plan on being in good enough shape to where he and I could play, and maybe they could play mixed doubles. We’ve really enjoyed it so far.”
Dru McCoy and her daughter Katie, who will be a sophomore at Marion, also got their first chance Saturday to play together in the Classic. The duo have been playing doubles for four years, but it was just this year that Dru could bring her daughter to play alongside her after playing in the Classic 20 times previously.
Early in the day Saturday, the McCoys took an easy victory in their first match of the Mother/Daughter division, and later they took on the Hammel sisters, Alex and Michaela, in the semifinals of the Women’s A Doubles division. Although they lost the match 6-1, 6-3, they were all smiles afterwards, managing to joke with each other and relishing another opportunity to play together.
“I’ve actually been waiting for her to grow up so that we could play in this tournament together before I get too old,” Dru said. “I’m getting worse each year, and she’s getting better each year.”