Hempfield Area Recreation Center in Landisville, Pa. has been home to the Koser Jewelers Pro Circuit Tennis Challenge for each of the past five years. During that time, tournament Director Wilson Pipkin has taken a simple approach to hosting the tournament: if the fans want it, Hempfield will host it.
Next week, the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event is set to take place for a sixth consecutive year, bringing up-and-coming female tennis players from around the world to central Pa. for a week of hard-fought, hard-court, outdoor action.
The tournament, which includes singles and doubles action, is scheduled to run from Monday, May 13, through Sunday, May 20. Singles play will feature 26 players in the main draw with eight additional coming from the 64-player qualifying event, combining for a total of 32. Doubles includes a total of 16 teams.
Players prepared to participate in this year’s tournament include No. 5-seed Piaa Suomalainen, who is the defending champion, Sally Peers, Nika Kukharchuk, Fatmas Al Nabhani and Brook Austin. Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran, the No. 1 seed, has singles titles in each of the last two years and is currently ranked No. 280 in the world.
Much of the event’s popularity in the local community is due to the consistent and intense competition and the quality of play. In two of the last three years, the tournament’s winner has gone on to win the US Open National Playoffs Middle States qualifier and advance into the qualifying round of the US Open (Alexandra Mueller in 2011, Robin Anderson in 2012).
But even aside from the strong play, Pipkin and his staff at Hempfield Rec do their part to add additional activities and events to the week, bringing in a wide variety of spectators and fans who wouldn’t necessarily be involved with tennis otherwise. One of those events includes a ladies’ fashion show, which takes place on Wednesday.
The tournament also introduces school kids to tennis, bringing some of the pro players and volunteers to two area schools to demonstrate 10 and Under Tennis at a school assembly. The school events are expected to reach more than 600 kids.
“The people in this community have really taken to this event for a lot of reasons,” Pipkin said. “The tennis speaks for itself, but everything tied into it certainly helps. We’re excited to get it going again this year and see how it turns out.”
Photos and info from throughout the week will be posted on the Middle States Facebook page, and also by clicking here.
USTA Member Appreciation Day, which rewards USTA members with a free gift, will take place during the finals on Sunday, May 19.
More info, along with a list of all participating players, can be found here.