A staple in the Great Lakes Bay Region, the 34th Dow Tennis Classic
returns to the Greater Midland Tennis Center from Oct. 31-Nov. 6.
The longstanding event brings some of the top-ranked tennis talent to the courts, inviting the Midland community to witness some of the most competitive play, from just feet away. Jeff Rekeweg is the executive director of the Greater Midland Tennis Center, and is working to help grow tennis in the Great Lakes Bay Region. This year, he’s also the tournament director, operating for the first time in a behind-the-scenes capacity for the event.
“I’ve been a spectator for about 12 years, but this is the first time I’ve seen it from the organization side,” Rekeweg says.
Eight players currently in the top 100 in the world are scheduled to play here.
The Dow Tennis Classic is in its second year of a three-year contract with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)
, one of the most high-profile sports organizations. This partnership allows bigger name talent and bigger prizes. “We have eight players currently ranked in the top 100 in the world, and several in the top 50 in the world. Sometimes players withdraw because of injury, but currently, this is the highest overall ranking field that the Dow Tennis Classic has ever had,” Rekeweg says.
This year’s event showcases athletes who have competed in the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. Talent includes Shuai Zhang (currently ranked #28 in the world), Mara Kostyuk, (#56 in singles), Caty McNally, ( #151), and Madison Bengle ( #48).
Rekeweg says attending the event is truly something special. “There’s a big difference between watching it on T.V. and seeing it in person,” he says. “Just witnessing the level of play; how hard they hit the ball, and how athletic these players are. It’s hard to explain, but you can just feel the energy and excitement when you’re here. It’s a great opportunity to see people usually you only see on T.V. You get to see them in-person, and up-close. You’re literally, in a lot of cases, 15 feet from these professionals.”
A portion of the event typically focuses on bringing tennis workshops to up-and-coming players, including local K-8 students. Rekeweg says they’re still finalizing the details for the kids fun days portion, so the final schedule is TBA (to be announced).
"You get to see them in-person, and up close."
Rekeweg says the event is one of the favorites on the tour, mainly because of the community support, local sponsors, volunteers and their welcoming nature. The event is still in need of more volunteers, and those interested in ball-runner positions, hosting players, driving players and officials, assisting with parking, ushering or working concessions, etc. can sign up online
There are several ticket options to attend and volunteers are still needed.
Various ticket options are available online, including general admission court-side seating, club seats with and without Grand Slam Dining options, full and half-box seat options, reserved parking packages, etc. Main draw daytime matches are free Sunday through Friday. Donations are accepted, and go towards the scholarship program at the Tennis Center.
“A big part of the event is our outreach, and being able to create opportunities for young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to play tennis or be exposed to tennis,” Rekeweg says.
Visit the Dow Tennis Classic website
to purchase tickets and get more information.