It’s not everyday you get to witness a top-ranked tennis player in their element, just a few feet away from you – not on T.V., but live in front of you. The 35th annual Dow Tennis Classic
returns to the Greater Midland Tennis Center from Oct. 30-Nov. 5., providing Midland residents with this unique opportunity.
The annual event brings some of the most celebrated and decorated tennis athletes to the courts, and the community. Jeff Rekeweg is the Executive Director of the Greater Midland Tennis Center, and the Dow Tennis Classic tournament director. This is the second year Rekeweg has been the tournament director, but he enjoyed the event as a spectator in years prior. Rekeweg says the event has a longstanding history, with local roots.
The Dow Tennis Classic will be held October 30-November 5 at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
“This will be our 35th consecutive year of hosting the Dow Tennis Classic,” Rekeweg says. “It originated because of a local hometown hero, Meredith McGrath, who was a very good tennis player. The tournament was created to have a professional event she could play in. It’s just grown from there.”
Now in its third and final year of a three-year contract with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)
, the Dow Tennis Classic continues to bring in big name talent and big prizes. The 2023 event showcases athletes who have competed in the high-profile tournaments including the US Open, French Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. This year’s scheduled athletes include Tatjana Maria (ranked 53 in the world), and the 2015 and 2017 Dow Tennis Classic champion. The full lineup includes five Top-100 players, including Taylor Townsend, Ashlyn Krueger, Anna Kalinskaya, Kayla Day, and more. Wildcards include three top-50 players: Caroline Dolehide, Emma Navarro, and Peyton Stearns.
“You’re seeing ladies that have played in major championships like the U.S. Open, Australia Open, and Wimbledon that you’ll be able to see play up close and personal,” Rekeweg says. Last year’s event saw two players ranked in the Top 50, and Rekeweg says this year’s tournament is poised to be even more impressive, with three to four Top-50 players likely.
Caty McNally was the singles champion of the 2022 Dow Tennis Classic.
The tournament is made possible by sponsorship as well as hundreds of volunteers. Rekeweg is grateful for Midland’s support to make this event happen year after year.
“It really helps our economy here, it has a huge economic impact,” he says. “It adds to what Midland does not only for our region, but also our state. This is the only professional women's tennis event in the whole state of Michigan, and we host it here in Midland and have done it here for 35 years. That says a lot about our community.”
A fan enjoying the action at the 2022 Dow Tennis Classic.
Rekeweg says part of the event’s mission is to provide exposure and create opportunities for youth who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to or have the chance to play tennis.
“A big part of the event is having elementary and middle schools on site for free to watch matches during the day,” he says. “We send pros who are playing in the tournament out to schools to spend time with them at assemblies and that’s been well-received.”
This year, the tournament provides children 12 years and younger with a free general admission ticket with a paid adult. They also have a STEM and family zone, sponsored by Jacobs, as part of the event’s programming to increase family-friendly activities.
“There will be a couple of kiosks talking a little bit about the science of tennis, but also some interactive things within the kiosks on sustainability,” Rekeweg says. “We’ll have some interactive tennis-based things that the kids can do there that help them learn the value of science, technology, engineering and math in a fun way.”
Alycia Parks & Asia Muhammad were the 2022 Dow Tennis Classic Doubles Champions.
Across six days, there are over 1,000 hours of volunteer opportunities ranging from event set-up, concessions, ball-runner positions, ushering, hosting and driving players, and more. Volunteer positions are still available for sign-up online.
Ticket options include general admission court-side seating, club seats, Grand Slam Dining options, and more. Main draw daytime matches are free, but donations are accepted, and go towards the scholarship program at the Tennis Center. Visit the Dow Tennis Classic website
to purchase tickets and get more information.
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