Pelham well represented in USTA Southern Championships

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Six Pelham teams will compete in the 2009 United States Tennis Association (USTA) League Southern Section Championships July 25-August 2 at nine facilities throughout the Birmingham area.

Pelham’s 3.0 men, 3.5 men, 3.0 women, 3.5 women and 4.5 women teams each won their state championships to qualify. The 2.5 men’s team finished second in state, but is competing in sectionals as a wildcard.

Ken Vines of the Pelham Tennis Center will lead “Team Pelham” as captain of the 3.0 men’s team in sectionals. Vines does not regularly play at these sites, but still views the tournament location as a big help.

“We’ve started practicing at these courts and are just hoping for a lot of fan support to give us a home court advantage,” Vines said. “It’s just nice to have it in Birmingham.”

Over 18,000 players competed at the nine USTA state championships in the Southern sectional with 2,000 players advancing to the sectional championship. Just over 200 players will advance to the national championships.

Competition may be tougher now than at state, but Team Pelham seems very optimistic.

“If a team dominates locally and wins state pretty handily, then they should have a shot in sectionals,” Vines said. “I know we will be competitive.”

The tournament sites include Altadena Valley Country Club, Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University, George Ward Park, Highland Racquet Club, West Homewood Park, Hoover Country Club, James Lewis Tennis Center and the Lakeshore Foundation Tennis Center.