Recap of Winston-Salem Adaptive Tennis Open
From May 15 – 17, over 40 athletes met to compete in the National tournament held at the Vision Tennis Center in Clemmons, NC, just outside of Winston-Salem. Vision Tennis Center hosts this yearly event with enthusiasm and fervor that is impressive to all. Alex and Dave, the tennis pros at Vision Tennis Center, gave generously of their time acting as referees, conducting drills, organizing meals, and befriending all who attended. Charles Hunsucker recruited and trained more than 70 volunteers for the tournament. Kirstie Marx methodically organized the divisions and draws to make for exciting competition.
As the athletes arrived from all over North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts, emotions mounted as hugs and high fives were shared. Thursday night athletes participated in drills and practice for the tournament which would take place on Friday and Saturday. There were eight divisions and skilled courts for athletes to hone and practice their strokes. Winston-Salem is the only tournament which provides this opportunity for athletes to practice their skills through drills. These athletes are not ready to compete in matches, but have the drive to work hard and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with playing in tournaments.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, the athletes were motivated to win, but more importantly were excited to be participating. They encouraged each other to play their best, even when they were directly across the net from each other. When changing sides of the court, words of kindness, slaps on the back and high fives were common.
The weekend culminated in the awards banquet with medals given to the participants in each division according to their rank. Finally, the sportsmanship award was given to the player voted upon by all the coaches and athletes. Zola was beaming with such a high honor. Athletes, volunteers and organizers left with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, and promises to return next year!