The tournament kicks off with a cocktail party on Dec. 7 and concludes with finals on Dec. 10.
Game, set, match…
It’s time for this year’s Observer Challenge Tennis Tournament.
The 18th annual tournament will begin with a cocktail party catered by Harry’s Continental Kitchens at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, 590 Bay Isles Road.
At the cocktail party, competitors will learn who they are competing against. The party will also feature an exhibition match. Director of the tennis center, Kay Thayer, said the exhibition might be mixed doubles, but the players are still undetermined.
Then on Dec. 8 the real fun begins as teams take to the court. Thayer is expecting more than 100 players to compete like in years past. Most of those, she said, come from Longboat Key, making it a friendly competition.
“We welcome anybody, and once in awhile we get a few people from Bird Key or some people in Sarasota that maybe used to be out here that moved away, but the majority of it [is from Longboat],” Thayer said. “It makes it nice because you get people from all the different clubs out here, and it brings everybody together.”
The tournament format won’t change from years’ past, Thayer said. The only thing that could change is the addition of a fifth division, which has happened before. Each team will consist of two men and two women. Based on skill level, the teams are placed into divisions, which could be why an additional fifth level would be needed. Teams will play in mixed, singles and doubles matches, and it will be up to the team to decide who plays what match.
“We figure we might as well not change it because it seems like everybody enjoys it,” Thayer said.
Thayer recommends signing up as soon as possible. Thayer arranges the teams and it is possible to be added last minute, but the sooner she can figure out what teams need an additional player, the better.
The tournament cost is $35 per player. That price includes the cocktail party, a tournament shirt, balls and refreshments. Players can bring guests to the cocktail party for $10.
To register for the tournament, call 941-316-8367.