More than 950 of the nation’s top youth tennis players converge upon Tucson and the Northwest this week for the 20th annual Copper Bowl tennis tournament.
The event, billed as the world’s second-largest youth tournament, is headquartered at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador in Oro Valley. Much of the play takes place there, along with the El Conquistador Country Club, the Tucson Racquet Club and the Westin La Paloma Resort. There are many satellite locations for earlier round play, too, among them courts in SaddleBrooke. All fan viewing is free, and encouraged.
“All venues offer clear sight lines for photos and video of these budding stars,” a release said.
Players from 40 states and Canada have signed up for the main draw and the qualifying tournament, which is being played Dec. 30 and 31. Four players in each age group receive wild-card spots into the main draw. Regular tournament play opens Saturday, Jan. 2, with championship matches Jan. 7.
Age-group competition – there are divisions for 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-year-old boys and girls – unfolds at a dozen sites throughout the city.
The Copper Bowl offers “an up-front glimpse of the future of American tennis in action,” the release said. Among the players is Brandon Holt, son of former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Tracy Austin, who is now an NBC tennis commentator.
Melanie Oudin, this year’s sensation at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, played the tournament in 2004. A number of young players from the Northwest are testing themselves against national-caliber competition.
The Copper Bowl also hosts “one of the most popular and entertaining tournament training camps in the world.” The Copper Bowl Training Camp is set for the Tucson Racquet Club Dec. 29-Jan. 1. It is operated by Tucson teaching pros, college players and “occasional celebrities,” the release said.
There’s also a table tennis tournament, held in the Presidio Ballroom at the El Conquistador Jan. 3-4, and a player party at Funtasticks Family Fun Park on Jan. 3.
Dickinson Sports runs the tournament, with Jason Dickinson the director. Dickinson is a U.S. Air Force major stationed with the Arizona Air National Guard. His wife Nina Dickinson, the tournament administrator, played tennis in college. The tournament was founded by Jason’s father, Don Dickinson.
Boys 12s: Hilton El Conquistador Country Club, Ironwood Ridge High School
Boys 14s: Hilton El Conquistador Country Club, Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, Westward Look Resort
Boys 16s: Tucson Racquet Club
Boys 18s: Reffkin Tennis Center (formerly Randolph Tennis Center), University of Arizona
Girls 12s: Catalina Foothills High School, La Paloma Country Club
Girls 14s: Catalina Foothills High School, Fort Lowell Tennis Center
Girls 16s: Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, Saddlebrooke Tennis Club, Sun City Vistoso
Girls 18s: Reffkin Tennis Center (formerly Randolph Tennis Center)
Four local tennis players are among the top seeds in the 20th annual Copper Bowl tennis tournament
Zaina Sufi is seeded second in the girls 16-and-under division, as is Hailey Rochin in the girls 14s. Robert Seby is the second seed in the boys 14s. Courtney Amos received the #4 seed in the girls 16s.
Other locals earning seeds are:
Boys 18s — 5. Dominic Bermudez; 12. Daniel Hyman; 17. Carlos Bermudez, Mitchell McDaniels.
Boys 16s — 17. Wade Heerboth.
Boys 14s — 8. Jared Aldor; 9. Gregory Anderson.
Boys 12s — 16. Yash Parikh; 17. Michael Lee.
Girls 16s — 17. Lauren Amos, Sara Brown.
Girls 14s — 17. Marissa Baca.
Girls 12s — 11. Maddie Pothoff.