Tennis Classic could move to Macon

Published 10:36 am Friday, June 28, 2013

When former Troy University Tennis Coach Eric Hayes spoke with The Messenger Friday before a news conference announcing his move to Mercer, he said the USTA Tennis Classic of Troy will likely follow him to Macon, Ga.

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said the city has not heard from the United States Tennis Association, the entity that puts on the national women’s pro circuit event. But, Reeves said, the city would be letting the USTA know of its want to continue hosting the tournament, as it has for the last 10 years.

“Right now, nothing has been approved. We can’t really comment on it at this point,” said Ron Cioffi, director of communications for USTA Southern.

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The tournament, held at the Lunsford Tennis Complex on Elm Street, has hosted several young women who have gone on to play in the Olympics and Wimbledon.

“The tournament gives us a tremendous amount of exposure. We were very pleased it was brought to Troy,” said Jimmy Lunsford, former Troy mayor. “I would certainly like to see it continue here.”

Reeves seconded that thought.

“There are a lot of sponsors and taxpayer money that went into what made it what it was here in Troy,” Reeves said. “Eric was a vital member of that, but it was not a one-man show. We would hope that the USTA would continue to come to Troy.”

Lunsford said that for the event to continue, the city would certainly still need support from Troy University and whoever is hired as the new head tennis coach.

Although there’s never really been an official tabulation as to how much revenue is generated by the annual event, Lunsford said the city will take a loss if the tournament relocates.

“There would be some revenue lost. There were motel rooms booked by the staff that works with the tournaments and meals eaten at local restaurants,” Lunsford said. “Family members and coaches travel with the players and it does have an impact on the community.”