Get your game faces on, because it’s time for the annual Observer Challenge.
The tournament is now in its 13th year and will kick off with a players tournament party and pro mixed-doubles exhibition from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center. The event includes hors d’oeuvres, along with beer, wine and a cash bar.
The tournament will take place from Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Tennis Center.
The tournament will feature its format of four players (two men and two women) per team, with four levels of play that is unique among USTA tournaments because it includes both singles and doubles for each team.
“It makes it kind of fun because you can lose the singles and come back and win the doubles and win the whole match,” said Kay Thayer, manager of the Tennis Center. “It makes it more exciting, because you have more than one chance to win.”
But there is something new this year.
For both the Longboat Key Senior Clay Courts Tournament that takes place Tuesday through Sunday of this week and next week’s annual Observer Challenge, spectators will be able to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine, because the Tennis Center officially began selling alcoholic beverages Saturday, Nov. 24.
The cost is $25 per player for the tournament and includes a T-shirt, trophies, balls and refreshments. For party and exhibition only, the cost is $10.
According to Thayer, registration is currently about half full, but many players typically sign up the week prior to the tournament.
“I feel that we’ll have a full turnout, as usual,” she said.