Tennis talent converges on the PC MARC
There is a plethora of sports with a following in Park City and Summit County. When the mountains are capped white, folks are carving their way down the mountain, and when the hills are green, mountain bikes are tearing through dirt trails.
But the PC MARC is doing its best to make Park City a nationwide tennis destination. It’s doing so by hosting its second national indoor championship tournament in the last seven months as the Men’s 45s National Indoor Championships are scheduled to start on Monday, Nov. 5, at 9 a.m. The top 45-or-older players in the country will converge on Park City for a singles and doubles tournament. The singles finals are scheduled to be played Thursday, Nov. 8, at 9 a.m., and the doubles finals are scheduled to follow afterward.
According to Laurie Lambert, tennis operations supervisor at the PC MARC, the singles winner earns $600, while the runner-up in singles gets $350. The winning doubles team earns $800 (per team), while the runners-up will get $600. The total amount distributed to players next week will be $4,000, Lambert said.
"We’re bringing in some of the top players around," she said. "Three of the top four seeds have never played here before. The prize money is what brought them in. We have just incredible talent coming into the event this year."
Among them is former Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) mainstay and Grand Slam doubles champion Scott Davis, who will be competing in the doubles competition. For Lambert, tournaments of this magnitude allow the sport of tennis to take a front seat in this ski town for a week or so.
"The level of play is just something we don’t get to see every day," she said. "I would say that’s the greatest joy, getting to see tennis at its best five feet away from you."
Lambert said in order for the PC MARC to host these types of tournaments, the MARC must formally apply each year to the United States Tennis Association (USTA). She said if a host venue does a good job, for the most part, it is given another opportunity to host the event the following year.
"If there’s competing clubs, you have to compete against them and bid against them," she said. "We have not had to bid against anyone for these events yet."
She said one of the biggest draws at the PC MARC is the spectators’ ability to be so close to the competition; whether fans are watching through the giant panes of glass in the lounge area or atop the track that circles the four indoor courts, there isn’t a bad view in the house.
"When we were designing the new building, the viewing of the courts was a key component," Lambert said. "Most of the clubs in Salt Lake, it’s virtually impossible to watch the small court on the far side. We’re one of the few (places) where it’s great in every court."
As for hosting another national tournament, Lambert said it’s nice to be able to showcase what the town has to offer to some of the nation’s top players.
"Tennis is a small community; even nationwide, it’s a small community," she said. "You have all these guys traveling to several different tournaments, so it’s great in Park City, where the tournament grows and the reputations grows."
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.