- January 2, 2023
Take a break from the busyness of the holiday season and enjoy a weekend of tennis at the 16th annual Observer Challenge from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.
The event kicks off the day before matches begin on Dec. 10 with a cocktail party catered by Harry’s Continental Kitchens. At the party, players will find out their opponents and play times.
Each team consists of four players, two men and two women. The teams are grouped into four or five different levels based on the teams’ overall skill level. Those without a team can sign up individually, and Tennis Center Manager Kay Thayer will place them into teams.
“If somebody doesn’t have a team or there’s only two players to a team, we still encourage them to sign up, and we can try to get them on a team,” Thayer said.
Unlike most tennis tournaments where participants play either singles or doubles, players at the Observer Challenge will compete in both in this unique format.
“The format is something people look forward to because it’s different from any tournament they’ve ever played,” Thayer said.
In many tennis tournaments, participants compete against players they’ve never met. At the Observer Challenge, however, players will compete against people they know. Of the more than 100 players who annually compete in the tournament, most are from Longboat Key.
“It’s open to people off the island, but it tends to be a good tournament for the residents of Longboat Key,” Thayer said. “People look forward to it because it’s a nice way to bring all the tennis players on the island together, no matter where they normally play. It’s a great tournament for the Longboat Key tennis community.”