Three Natchez residents to play singles matches at tourney

Published 12:34 am Monday, June 20, 2011

Elise Glatzer returns a serve while playing against Shannon Church Saturday morning at Duncan Park. The two, along with Duncan Park Tennis Director Henry Harris, left Sunday to compete in a USTA tournament in Houston, Texas. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The plan was for Elisa Glatzer and Shannon Church to pair up as doubles partners at the USTA 2011 Summer National Seniors Games.

But due to what Church called a computer glitch, the two instead ended up getting put in the women’s 50 singles division.

The women left Natchez Sunday with Duncan Park Tennis Coordinator Henry Harris to compete in the games in Houston, Texas, and the games will last through next Sunday. A few days before the they left, Glatzer joked that she wonders how things came to this.

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“I’ve never been to this (particular USTA tournament),” Glatzer said. “I just hope I don’t humiliate myself. I’m wondering how I got talked into this.”

For Church, the games are a way for her to continue getting back into tennis after a stress fracture sidelined her from the sport last November.

“I had two pins put in by Dr. Robert Haimson, and my physical therapist Marsha Passman has been trying to get me back to tennis as quickly and reasonably as possible,” Church said.

Harris said he hasn’t been to the games since 2002, where he competed in Virginia Beach, Va., and won a bronze medal in singles. He said the three of them were eligible for nationals after competing in the state games in Clinton.

“We put our names in the entry, and no one else in our category applied, so we automatically qualified for nationals,” Harris said.

“I haven’t played since then, so I’m trying to get back in the swing of things and see some new guys. Usually, I travel to tournaments and see the same guys, but at this one, I don’t know what will show up. The players range from (category) 2.0 to someone who’s played professional tennis before.”

Glatzer said she’s been playing tennis for 15 years, but Church said she’s newer to the game. Even so, the two formed a bond while getting trained by Harris at Duncan Park.

“I moved to Natchez a couple of years ago, and asked Henry if I could learn to play tennis,” Church said.

“At first, no one would play with me. I had to get good enough to play on a team.”

But Glatzer was quick to correct her on that point.

“The first time I met you, I said I’d play with you,” Glatzer said.

Church admitted that Glatzer was right about the offer.

“That’s true. She was a 4.0, so she used me as batting practice,” Church joked. “But she helped me learn.”

Even with having to rehab, Church said she’s gotten back into playing shape at a good pace.

“I’m not as fast as I’d like to be, but I never was very fast anyway,” she said. “I have to play smart and have tenacity. I don’t have a lot of natural talent, so I just work on the basics. Practice makes perfect.”

But since the two can’t play together, Glatzer said there’s even more pressure to do well.

“If I get blown off the court by myself, it’s a whole different story than if I get blown off the court with someone,” Glatzer said. “It’s a lot more uncomfortable, because there’s no one to blame but me.”