Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pro Tennis in Lexington


Four professional tennis players were invited to play an exhibition doubles match at the Lexington County Tennis Complex.

The LATA Sunburn Open is an annual adult doubles tennis tournament, held from July 10-13. This year over 177 players signed up to play, most players entered multiple events, and they were all ready to sweat some, have fun, and to ultimately be able to watch four tennis pros on center court play a professional-level doubles match.

The match was very exciting and both teams played very well.  As is expected at a good doubles match, there were many long points at the net forcing both teams  to come up with their best shots in order to stay in the game after being lobbed or often passed during the match. The viewers had a chance to see the pros deal with situations such as being lobbed then sprinting for a drop shot, engaging in a volley-battle when all four players are at the net, and recovering after returning a fast and well-placed wide serve while still being able to cover half of the court.  These were just a few examples all doubles players can learn from and apply to their own games.
The participating pros were Tommy Shimada, former top 40 doubles player in the world, with his partner, Carlos Lozano, director of tennis at Topspin Racquet and Swim Club and former Davis Cup player for Mexico. Their opponents were two former top USC players, Tom Eklund and Yevgeny Supeko. Both former Gamecocks were top junior players before joining USC, and brought many singles and doubles victories for the tennis team. 

Even though the former Gamecocks won this match for 2/6 6/3 (10/4), after the match the players told City Paper that this was actually a rematch from last year’s event, when Shimada and Lozano overcame the youngsters.
Tommy Shimada, who spent 11 years on the professional tour and had doubles victories over Roger Federer, Andy Rodick and Marat Safin told City Paper that he was very happy to be able to participate in this exhibition for the fourth time.

“Exhibitions like this are great opportunities for local players to see a different level of tennis,” Shimada said. “Not only do they get to relax after their matches and enjoy the exhibition, but they can cheer for their former Gamecock players.”
“Exhibitions are great for all tournament participants,” Lozano agreed. “They can look at our doubles match and learn from it. Hopefully, matches like this also encourage players to play more, take lessons and ask questions from their tennis pros.”
After the match all four pros said that if they are still in the area, they would come back next year to play another exhibition match.
To learn more about the organization and about future events got to

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