Grapevine Tennis Classic Wrapup

The Hilton DFW Lakes (where I play tennis) just finished hosting their first professional tournament, the Grapevine Tennis Classic, a $50K Women’s Pro Circuit event.  I worked everything from the VIP entrance to managing the flow of people to and from the stands on center court.  Like golf, movement is not allowed before or during points, and most traffic to/from the stands is only allowed during player changeovers.  It’s not easy keeping an eye on each point, then looking to see who’s moving into the court area or out of the stands … when the on-court temps are around 120 degrees!  I also ran down balls that got hit out of the playing area, helped with the awards presentation and generally learned a lot about what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ in putting on a professional tennis tournament.

Although not a top-tier WTA event, this particular tournament was very important as there are a lot of WTA points up for grabs; points that are needed to help qualify for entry into the prestigious US Open series, which of course ends with the US Open itself.   The quality of play during the tournament was impressive, especially considering that most players are not experienced with tournament play in triple-digit temperatures.

Fortunately, I did get to see a lot of the action and I have a new tennis hero.  Her name is Valerie Tetreault.  Valerie was the #6 seed, from Canada.  I worked center-court during her semfinal match as well as the finals.  She was not favored to win either.  After losing the first set of her seminfinal match, she gutted out a touch second set win in a tiebreaker, then braved the heat to take the third set and a place in the finals.  Her opponent in the finals was Stephanie Dubois, the #1 seed, who breezed into the finals in straight sets and was heavily favored to win.

Tetreault was supposed to have been exhausted from the semifinal match and dropped the first set of the final 6-4.  In addition to battling the hot Texas weather, she had to stare down five championship points against her in the second set.  She came back from being down in the second-set tiebreaker, winning it 8-6.  Guess who gutted out the third set for a tough win?  You got it!  Valerie won 7-6(1) in the third.

Just when you think someone finally has time to relax, she was given just a 90-minute break before having to come back on court and play in the doubles final.  Although she played a good match, she and her partner were up against the #2 seeds Lee-Waters/Zalameda, who were well rested and won in straight sets.

Still, a great effort by Valerie and a really fantastic tournament.  If you’re a tennis fan and live in the D/FW area, you missed a great event!  I’m already looking forward to next year.  If you would like to see some photos, check out Mark Woods’ great collection here.