From Feb. 3 through Feb. 10, the Dow Corning Tennis Classic was held in Midland, at the local Midland Community Tennis Center. Female professional players ranked in the top 200 from all over the world attended to play.
This yearly event serves as a social and sporting event for Midland, however, this year brought something extra to the occasion. It was the 25th anniversary of the tournament, bringing new additions and elements to the competition.
“This is the longest standing Women’s Professional Tennis Tournament and we’re fortunate to have it in our community,” executive manager of the tennis center Mike Woody said. “There are 93 circuit events and we’ve been told we’re one of the best.”
This year, the tournament brought in players from over 15 countries. Players included top junior players in the world, as well as some winners and champions from the past.
“It’s a wonderful chance for us to see dedicated professionals here in Mid-Michigan in early February,” Dow Corning sponsor representative Dan Futter said. “I know there are many temptations socially and sporting wise in Michigan at this time, but this one wins. It’s a great opportunity to see a top class sport and professionals at work.”
Taylor Townsend (USA), the number one junior player in the world, attended the tournament and played until defeated by Sachia Vickery (USA). Being only 16 years old, Townsend experiences a life on the road attending tournaments such as this.
“This is my first time here in Midland and this atmosphere really feels like a small WTA event,” Townsend said. “It feels very nice, friendly and the staff is looking to help you in any way that they can.”
As well as young competition, the tournament also brought in some older champions, such as Jill Craybas (USA) and Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (NED). Both admitted enjoying competing in Midland due to its pleasant atmosphere.
“When I look back, it seems that I did well in places where people are nice,” McCarthy said. “People are extremely nice in Midland, Michigan. So when people say, what’s your favorite place to go? I always say it’s when the people are the friendliest.”
The tournament was also represented by former professional tennis player Meredith McGrath, who attended many conferences and speeches over the week speaking about the tennis career. McGrath, who once played at this tournament, played professionally until 1996 when she reached the pinnacle of her career at the semi-finals of Wimbledon.
“My first time playing [at the DCTC], I was a senior in high school,” McGrath said. “It was an eccentric atmosphere, having the community behind you is just amazing.”
The tournament ended on Sunday, Feb. 10 with a finals single match featuring Lauren Davis (USA) and Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO). Davis defeated Tomljanovic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6.
“The most motivating part [of the career] is definitely winning, of course,” Davis said. “To play against the big players and win, is just the best feeling in the world.”
The doubles finals were played by Melinda Czink (HUN) / Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) and Maria-Fernanda Alves (BRA) / Samantha Murray (GBR), with Czink and Lucic-Baroni taking the win 5-7, 6-4, 10-7.