Troy Classic’s historic player

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Julie Ditty made tennis history Sunday when she swept the singles and doubles events at the 2008 ColemanVision Tennis Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., to capture her 31st and 32nd career USTA Pro Circuit titles.

“I knew before I went to Albuquerque that I could break the record,” Ditty said. “It is a good feeling, especially being from the U.S. I just broke the Top-100 too.”

With the wins, Ditty becomes the all-time leader in USTA Pro Circuit titles, surpassing Paul Goldstein and Nana Smith (nee Miyagi), who both have 30 USTA Pro Circuit titles. Ditty will be the highest ranked player in the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy Sept. 27-Oct. 5. The Troy Classic will be held at the Jimmy Lunsford Tennis Center on the Troy University campus.

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“That tournament is awesome,” Ditty said. “Eric (Hayes) does a really good job with that. It is nice being on a college campus again. I like the small-town atmosphere because I’m from a small town.”

The 29-year-old Ashland, Ky., native and resident defeated No. 1 seed Rosana De Los Rios of Paraguay, 6-4, 7-6 (3), in the singles final, while teaming with Carly Gullickson to defeat Argentina’s Jorgelina Cravero and Betina Jozami, 6-3, 6-4, in the doubles final. For her career, Ditty owns nine USTA Pro Circuit singles titles and 23 USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles.

Ditty is enjoying arguably her most successful season as a pro, earning direct entry into the main draw of the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. She reached a career-high No. 91 singles ranking in November 2007 after reaching the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event in Quebec City as a qualifier.

She graduated from Vanderbilt in 2001 with a degree in early childhood education. With 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals.

Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. The USTA Pro Circuit is world-class tennis administered on the local level and played on local tennis courts as part of the fabric of communities nationwide.

The main draw competition of the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy begins Sept. 30. The tournament will take place through the week with the finals set for Oct. 5. This is the sixth year that Troy has hosted the Classic.

This article originally posted on Messenger sports reporter Ben Stanfield contributed to this article.