For Jeremy McClelland, the West Virginia Open is more than just another tournament.
“This tournament is the reason I wanted to play tennis,” McClelland said. “When I was younger, I used to come and watch the matches and say, ‘I want to be just like them.’”
McClelland grew up playing tennis in the Wheeling Oglebay area. He was one of the top ranked juniors in the Middle States Section. After playing four years of college tennis at Duquesne University, where he finished with the second most wins in school history, McClelland chose to stay in the Pittsburgh area after graduation and work at some of the city’s best tennis facilities.
Still, McClelland always reserved one week a year to be back in Wheeling Oglebay.
“I have played in the West Virginia Open every year since I was 13,” said the now 26-year-old McClelland. “Being here and competing in front of the home crowd always gives me an extra push.”
In the 13 years McClelland has been playing in the West Virginia Open, he has reached the Finals eight times, and won the entire thing five times. This year, he lost in the finals to Keith Whittingham, who is a good friend of McClelland’s.
After eight years away from Wheeling Oglebay, McClelland finally returned as the Director of Tennis at Wheeling-Oglebay Tennis Club.
“I was so excited to return to the area where I grew up and now teach on my home courts,” McClelland said. “
Now, more than ever, the West Virginia Open will be a home tournament for McClelland, who has high hopes for the club’s tennis program. This year, the West Virginia Open served as the Middle States’ Clay Court Section Championships, and the facility has other USTA programs on the horizon, as well.
McClelland has high hopes for the tennis program at Wheeling Oglebay Tennis Club.
McClelland is currently training students from Wheeling and the surrounding area, but also has players traveling from Pittsburgh, Columbus and Morgantown to play with him.
“I have really focused a lot of my energy on the junior program here,” McClelland said. “The club has a lot of talented juniors and has already seen an amazing amount of progress in the few short months I’ve been here. It used to be that tennis players left Wheeling to get find better tennis areas. It is very satisfying to know that now, players are coming to Wheeling from much larger areas for that same reason.”