New tennis ladder brings talent to light | ParkRecord.com

New tennis ladder brings talent to light

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

Top tennis players in the area have been climbing the ladder to success lately literally.

In an effort to attract some of the best tennis back to the court Parkite Earnest Oriente decided to design a tennis ladder.

The ladder was filled with men who have the highest skill ratings, ranging between 4.5-6.0. At that level, many were former touring professionals and college players. But many of them had strayed from the game.

The tournament’s design not only brought these talented athletes back into the fold, but it let them climb their way up the ladder for nine weeks during the spring. The ladder put the best guys at the bottom, giving them the farthest to climb. Each man was allowed to challenge up to four spaces ahead of him. The players, who ranged in age from 28-45, could work their way up until June 10, when the top eight players were sent to a championship tournament the following weekend. All of the games were played at Mike’s Tennis Academy in Salt Lake.

the end of the ladder, 25 men had played almost 200 sets and Jon Monk, a new transplant to Park City, was sitting on the top. The win earned Monk $500.

Monk, a former tour player in England turned financial advisor, was the youngest entry into the ladder at age 28. He spends his spare time teaching tennis at the Park City Racquet Club and was excited to play with other strong players.

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Monk says the idea behind the ladder is to unite highly talented tennis players. He hopes to join Oriente in staging the ladder again next year and bring twice as many players to the field.

"Ernest is the tennis god of Utah," Monk said. "Hopefully, it will attract more people that can play at a similar level."

Thus far, former tennis competitors from Salt Lake to Park City and from Ogden to Provo came out for the first ladder.

Monk hopes that these former pros will not only want to play games together now, but that they will want to give something back to the game and play with some of the younger athletes at the Park City Racquet Club and other facilities. Monk says he already fields many calls from people seeking instruction from somebody at his level and sees the ladder as only the beginning of growing leagues and other opportunities.

"It’s a motivation to play and raise the caliber of tennis," Monk said.