Tennis tourney next weekend

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

NATCHEZ — Next weekend, tennis players from around the South will gather in Natchez for the 32nd annual Natchez Community Cancer Tennis Tournament.

The tournament runs Friday through Sunday and will be hosted by the Duncan Park tennis courts. Trinity Episcopal and Beau Pré Country Club’s tennis courts will also be used if needed.

Ladies, men’s and mixed doubles will compete, and the tournament will go by USTA format, co-chairman Noreen Pyron said. Ladies levels range from 2.5 to 4.5, and levels for men’s doubles range from 3.0 to 4.5. Mixed doubles ranges from 5.0 to 8.0.

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“The deadline for registration is this Wednesday, and we start doing the slotting that day, so we need everyone to go ahead and sign up,” Pyron said.

Money raised by the tournament will go directly to the local cancer society, Pryon said, as well as help fund the Natchez youth tennis program.

“It will help send cancer-stricken children to Camp Sunshine in north Mississippi,” Pyron said.

“We’ve also helped finance the big deck (at Duncan Park) that’s there now, and remodeled the shop. We’ve helped with things the tennis courts needed as well. The money stays local.”

Out-of-town interest has been threatened a bit by news of the Mississippi River flood reaching national audiences, Pyron said.

“There’s a lot of interest from out of town, but they keep calling and asking us about the flood, so we don’t know how many people will end up showing up,” Pryon said.

“A lot of people from Lafayette (La.) and Baton Rouge usually come, so some of those people are affected also. They hear CNN, and all they hear is that Natchez is flooded. They don’t realize most of it is on a bluff. Some is flooded, but most isn’t.”

As to what keeps people from out of town coming each year, Pyron said the city itself is the main attraction.

“The comments we get from out-of-town people are that they love to come to Natchez,” Pyron said. “A lot of them will bring their family. There’s good competition, but there’s a lot of fun, too.”

Registration is $30 per event per person, $10 for guest of entrant and $25 per couple for social-only event. For more information, call 601-446-6677 or 601-446-1340.