Bill Reynolds Tennis Center hosts USTA State Championship

Published 3:22 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

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Bill Reynolds Tennis Center hosted the 2023 USTA Georgia Southern Combo Doubles State Championships over the weekend. One hundred ninety players from 21 teams traveled to town for three days of competition from Friday, Oct. 20 to Sunday, Oct. 22.

The tournament was in a “combo doubles” format. Combo doubles is similar to regular doubles but with partners of different skill levels. 

The USTA uses the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) to classify players by skill level. Players get a numerical rating from 1.5 (beginner) through 7.0 (touring pro). Regular doubles teams commonly comprise two players of the same NTRP rating. In combo doubles, the team is made up of players of different NTRP ratings that combine to reach a certain number. 

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Melanie Feliz, Director of Player Services at the Bill Reynolds Tennis Center, was on the sole Bainbridge team in the tournament. She and her doubles partner competed in the combo doubles 6.5 division. Feliz’s rating is 3.0, and her partner’s rating is 3.5, combining to reach an overall rating of 7.5 

“It was a great, great weekend,” Feliz said. “It was an absolute privilege.”

Feliz competed alongside teammates Sheryl Cannington (captain), Leigh Cooper, Sheila Edwards, April Powell, Amy Thomas, Susie Hartzog, Babs Coyle, Linda Cleveland and Becca Harville.

The USTA facilitates tennis competitions nationwide and has specific regulations for every USTA tournament. From majors such as the US Open to amateur tournaments like a Georgia combo doubles tournament, tennis courts, and facilities must be up to par for competitors.

Mark Gonzales, Director of Racquets at the Bill Reynolds Tennis Center, said he and his team have spent “a couple of months” bringing the tennis center to USTA regulation. 

They resurfaced all 14 courts, adjusted their court lighting to USTA standards, painted the pro shop, and did more to have everything in place for the tournament.

“We’re doing the finishing touches,” Gonzales said. “They just wanted the community to be welcoming to all of the players. It’s an event you should be proud of and, not to mention, you have to qualify for this event,… The teams that are coming in have earned their opportunity to get here.”