Stepping Up YOUR GAME

Typography

New regs aimed at reducing ratings appeals.

Team captains, hold your collective breaths. It’s year-end ratings time, and this year they mean business on a new level. “Benchmark” players who are bumped up a rating won’t be allowed to appeal for one year - a “benchmark” being anyone on a team advancing to 2008 State Championships. Also new: the ‘08 year-end ratings will reflect, among other things, fall ’08 Super Senior results.

The new regs apply across the board - Adult and Senior in the spring, Mixed Doubles and Combo in summer and Super Seniors in the fall. The likelihood is a radically reduced number of rating appeals throughout the state and nation. (Medical appeals will not be affected.)

The new ratings will come out in late November or early December, but will not affect the rest of this year’s play, like waking up on November Fool’s Day in the middle of the annual Tennis Association of HHI tournament that this year TAHHI has reworked its year-end format for the Oct. 31-Nov. 2 event. Early rounds are set at several clubs, with finals Sunday, Nov. 2 at Port Royal Racquet Club. Beware that Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. that morning. “Fall back” for an extra hour of sleep or end up getting to your match an hour too early.

Members and non-members are in the championship with competition in age and rating divisions. A big cookout will take place during the tournament finals at Port Royal. For more information, go to tahhi.org.

Islanders will be coming and going on the Nov. 7-9 weekend. The South Carolina USTA Super Senior League State Championships will draw all rating levels of 60s, 70s and, for the first year on a state level, 75s teams. The SS States are moving to Wild Dunes on Isle of Palms this year after a long run on Seabrook Island.

With the first year at States, the 75s will be following the lead of the 60s and 70s. All were started on Hilton Head Island and now include other South Carolina teams with expansion through the nine-state Southern Section. For Super Senior States schedules and match results, go to sctennis.com.

Back home, the 14th annual Wild Wing Café “Nutty Buddy” Tennis Classic will be played Nov. 7-9 at Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. Men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles will be included in rated divisions of 2.5 through open.

Tournament Director Jackie Reynecke will guarantee you a big party as part of the weekend. Entry forms are available at area tennis facilities and on tahhi.org. For additional information, call Palmetto Dunes at 785-1152.

With all the hardnosed state championships and competitive tournaments going on, it’s a bit of a relief to get into the more laid-back Senior Men’s Interclub that will get under way at midmonth. Dick Sonberg again is coordinating the 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 league that, unlike USTA leagues, strongly encourages each club to fill rosters with its member players.

Interclub is following the lead of USTA Leagues. Sonberg has set up a Hilton Head Island-only format. Ernie Clark is organizing the Bluffton/Sun City/ Beaufort area teams. A season-ending playoff between the champions on each level is planned for late January. ’08 USTA ratings will apply and carry through the end of the Interclub season. To get into Interclub tennis, contact Sonberg at rtsiws@aol.com or Clark at tennisracquets@yahoo.com.

(Yes, there is a Women’s Interclub, but the gals annually choose to play beneath the publicity radar – “just for fun,” we are told. If interested in joining one of those teams, check at your club or contact coordinator Jennifer Friend-Kerr at 686-4391 or jfkmhk@aol.com.)

Getting back to the serious stuff, top-level Islanders will be traveling Nov. 19-23 for the Southern Senior Clay Court Closed (even ages) on Kiawah Island. That’s men’s (30-90), women’s (30-80) singles and men’s and women’s doubles and mixed mixed 30-80. For entry, go to usta.com, then (on the right) click on Tennislink, and select “tournaments’, then enter ID No. 704110808. For information, call Kiawah at (843) 766-6028. HHI’s Public Tennis Inc. and Island Rec Center are joining hands for this year’s Thanksgiving Tennis Tournament at Chaplin Public Tennis Center. The sixth annual event will be played Nov. 21-23 the Chaplin Public Tennis Center, with Hilton Head Island High School as a satellite site. Junior age and Adult rated divisions will be played. For information, contact PTI Vice President Tim Ryan at chaplinroundrobin@hotmail.com or call Island Rec Center at 681-7273. 

TAKE A TIP FROM ...

Tim Arr, captain of the PDTC Senior Mixed Doubles 8.0s, who won 10 third-set match tiebreaks on the way to a South Carolina state championship in September. That’s TEN TSMTs in a format that has been a bane to HHI teams at States! “I think that the single biggest reason that we won all those tiebreaks, is that our team had established pairs who played together throughout the league season and at the state tournament,” Arr said. “Thus, when the tiebreak came, each pair was prepared to deal with the moment.” You can’t argue with winning.