Tennis tourney draws players of all ages

Published 12:31 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tennis for all types and ages was on display Saturday at the second annual Guaranty Bank Tennis Tournament.

The ages of the competitors in the tournament at the Halls Ferry Park courts ranged from 12 to 74. Arthur Spiller, 74, represented the senior set competing in men’s and mixed doubles.

“Oh, I love it,” Spiller said of his desire to stay fit on the courts. “I’ve played tennis off and on for the last 30 years. I’m getting ready to play my third match of the day.”

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David Parker of Vicksburg, the No. 1 seed in the six-player men’s singles draw, got to see a wide range of contrasts in his march to the Guaranty Bank title. Parker, 41, played 22-year-old Reed Rodgers in the semifinals and then beat 63-year-old Henry Tatum of Vicksburg in the finals 6-3, 6-4.

“That’s the benefit of a local tournament, you get to play all types,” Parker said.

Rodgers, who played last year for the men’s team at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College, provided Parker with an athletic challenge. Parker needed 12 games to finally subdue Rodgers to take the semifinal 6-4, 7-5. Tatum, meanwhile, beat Al Cialone 6-3, 6-3.

“I tried to see if I could outlast him, but he kept hanging in there,” Rodgers said. “These guys have a lot of experience. They know how to play and they know patience is one their biggest virtues.”

A total of 35 players signed up for the tournament said director Rick Shields. There were eight divisions ranging from 6.5 to 8.0 on the United States Tennis Association rating scale.

“We did it this way so that you have different rated players playing with each other,” Shields said. “We had 3.0’s playing with 3.5’s and such. I think the tournament has come on pretty good. We had great weather with the sun, but the wind killed us some.”

Three other divisions were able to finish their draws by sundown Saturday. In men’s 6.5 doubles, Buddy Emory and Kaleel Jabour won two matches to take the division. In the four-team men’s 8.0 draw, David Linzy and Anthony Wilson both of Jackson took home the title. Lori Swainer and Brenda Curry of Jackson won the women’s 8.0 draw. They won the semifinal match 7-6, 1-6, 10-8 and then won the final by default.