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Milwaukee Tennis Classic: Returning to 1975 format, partnering with ITA

Timon+Corwin%2C+the+managing+director+of+the+Western+Racquet+Club%2C+hopes+the+switch+back+to+individual+play+will+attract+better+talent+to+the+Milwaukee+Tennis+Classic.
Timon Corwin, the managing director of the Western Racquet Club, hopes the switch back to individual play will attract better talent to the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.

Timon Corwin, the managing director of the Western Racquet Club, hopes the switch back to individual play will attract better talent to the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Timon Corwin, the managing director of the Western Racquet Club, hopes the switch back to individual play will attract better talent to the Milwaukee Tennis Classic.

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Twelve years removed from a change to team play format, the Milwaukee Tennis Classic reverted back to an individual tournament, with added incentives.

For the 42nd annual tournament last weekend, the Classic’s board united with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Now, the Classic is considered a gold-level event, which means singles players that win will receive a wild card to the ITA national championship held in Indian Wells, California, in November.

“Change was good, and I think it will be exciting for the players who will be playing in it,” men’s tennis head coach Steve Rodecap said. “I think it was the right time to change it when we changed it the first time … now they have changed it again and it’ll be a great event to have in the community.”

In 1975, the Classic was a week-long national singles and doubles invitational held during Christmas break. The event was reformatted to an eight-school team-play tournament in 2005 to better accommodate schools’ and athletes’ schedules.

Timon Corwin, general manager of the Western Racquet Club, said they made the change to restore some of the Classic’s traditions and engage the local community.

“It was just the board’s desire to elevate college tennis in the Milwaukee area … bring the West Side and East Side together and tie in the colleges and universities,” Corwin said.

The men played at the Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove while the women competed at The Town Club in Fox Point, where the clay courts forced the players to adjust.

“The ball goes slower and most of the time your opponents will get more balls back,” sophomore Fleur Eggink said. “You have to hit a little bit more spin, you have to be a little bit more patient.”

Eggink, along with freshman Natalija Popovic, advanced the farthest in the tournament for Marquette on the women’s side, making to the doubles semifinals before losing to Arkansas. Four men’s tennis players competed this weekend as well: freshman Luis Heredia Gomez, sophomore Luke Smrek and juniors Greg Anderson and Alvaro Verdu.

Coaches do not get to decide which players get entered into the tournament. Instead, a system called Universal Tennis Ranking decides it. The format is also no-advantage, which means that once a game gets to deuce, whoever wins the next point wins the game. “It makes college tennis really exciting—no-ad points when it gets to three all in a game,” Rodecap said.

Both Rodecap and Eggink agree that there are some things to miss about the old team format. “I like the team probably a little bit better because you’re all together and, like, with cheering each other on,” Eggink said. “They’re, like, a little bit more like teammates.”

“College tennis is really exciting in a team format, but these are opportunities for guys to compete against some of the best players in the country,” Rodecap said.

The Milwaukee Tennis Classic will continue to have the same format and Corwin hopes to add more teams next year. The goal is to “keep the highest standards that have been in place for decades.”

“We want to attract world class players; we want to put out a great tournament and showcase Milwaukee,” Corwin said. “If you treat people like champions, they tend to act like champions.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Milwaukee Tennis Classic: Returning to 1975 format, partnering with ITA”

  1. Steve Gorno on October 6th, 2017 7:43 pm

    Timon, you know I’m a big fan of the throwback individual tourney. 🙂 Glad it breathed new energy into the Classic. I hope you are able to expand and make it even more exciting next year!

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