The regular season is entering the bulk of its region action and teams around the state have already begun settling their seeding for the upcoming region tournaments. These region tournaments will determine the playoff seeding, which calls for a first round completion date of April 20; the state championships will be held on May 18.
This spring sequence has remained unchanged for the past 10 years as the Clayton County Tennis Center at International Park in Jonesboro served as host of the GHSA’s annual tennis state championships. Built to host the summer Olympics’ beach volleyball competition in 1996, the park includes a 16-court tennis facility. This spring, however, the two-year-old Rome Tennis Center at Berry College will take over the role for the first time. It will also exceed in tripling the court availability at this year’s championships with its massive 60-court layout.
This change is expected to have a dramatic effect on the pace of play at this year’s championships, and will offer a panoramic vantage point of the action for fans in attendance.
“We want to publicly thank the fine people at the Clayton County facility for 10 great years,” said GHSA Tennis Coordinator Steve Figueroa. “They couldn’t have been more pleasant to work with. They did everything they could to make the finals run smoothly every year and we were happy at that facility for the last decade. But no facility with 16 courts can compete with the 60-court layout at the new Rome center. It is the state of the art tennis facility in Georgia and probably the southeast.”
Actually, its 60 courts rank amongst the largest hard court facilities in the nation. Unlike the past where teams would have to wait for each ‘Line’ and match to finish before the court became available for the next, teams will be able to compete simultaneously. It is not known exactly how the schedule will be set at this point, but here is the math and what the potential changes could mean.
Each classification will feature up to five matches (Singles: Lines 1-3, Doubles: Lines 1-2). With seven classifications and a split Class A, this gives us a maximum of 40 boys matches and 40 girls matches. So the 60-court facility will host the nearly 80 matches that the 16-court facility hosted a year ago. In the past when teams did not have the option of playing more than a couple lines at once, a team could clinch the title before the No. 3 singles, for example, even took the court. This could be the start of a new championship format where every line is guaranteed a match and shared starting time.
“The Rome Tennis Center at Berry College welcomes the GHSA State Tennis Championships to the City of Rome and we look forward to a wonderful competition featuring some of the best high school tennis teams in Georgia,” said Tom Daglis, Executive Director of the RTCBS.
All-day admission to the groundbreaking facility will be just $5 and parking will be free.
“We are very excited to be able to hold our tennis finals at a facility like this one,” said GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines. “We are fortunate to have a center like this one in Georgia and it was an easy decision to move the state finals to a show place like the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. We hope this will be a great championship site for many years to come.”
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