The Observer Challenge Tennis Tournament is swinging into another year.
On Thursday, Jan. 10, the tournament will open with a player cocktail party at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center, where the matches and schedule will be announced, and players can watch a mixed doubles exhibition match.
Competition really begins the next day.
Starting around 8 a.m., tournament play will begin and continue until Sunday, Jan. 13 when the winners will be crowned.
Tennis Center Manager Kay Thayer said there is no registration deadline, but those interested should make their intentions known as soon as possible.
Those interested can sign up as a team, a pair or as individuals. The earlier Thayer knows what teams are playing, the sooner she can fit individuals in the tournament.
Last year, there were between 120 and 130 players, and Thayer expects the same number again this year.
Each team will consist of two men and two women, and based on skill levels, the teams will be placed in various divisions. Teams will play mixed, singles and doubles matches.
While the competition might be intense, it’s really a tournament that brings the community together as most players are Longboat Key residents.
“I think for sure the majority are on the island, and I think what makes it nice is because of that we get people that play all over the island, whether it’s Cedars or the Longboat Key Club or just at their own place,” Thayer said. “And that’s what makes it nice. A lot of people know most everybody….it’s our own local tournament with some other people sprinkled in.”
To register, call 941-316-8367.