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The growth of tennis in New Albany has been tremendous over the last few months. The obvious evidence of this is the number of people you can see at the courts on a daily basis while passing by on Highway 78. For their efforts in promoting the sport in our town, the New Albany Tennis Association has received several honors from the Mississippi USTA.
When Bo Bowman came to New Albany during the summer, I mentioned his awards in the last year, which includes being named the top pro in the state and in the south. Also, New Albany High School tennis coach Warner Creekmore was named the high school coach of the year by this same organization. Along those lines, the NATA has been named the best tennis association in the state, and the first tournament held at BNA Bank Park back in the June, the BNA Bash, was named the top junior tournament in the state.
Talking with the NATA President, Susan Morris, she cited several reasons why that tournament was given top honors, including the facility, which has a covered pavilion for players to cool off at, as well as concessions provided by the New Albany Park Commission and a snow cone stand, which we all know comes in handy during the intense heat of the summer.
But it was all about the little details that made the difference. Morris talked about the hospitality the NATA provided to the guests, as well as stepping up with more attractive awards that were given to the winners. So despite the fact that the facility was not, and is still not completely finished, that first tournament sent out a clear message that BNA Bank Park is the premier facility to hold tennis tournaments in our area.
On that note, the park already has 15 tournaments scheduled for next year. This is going to bring tremendous tourism revenue for the town, as each tournament can bring in at least 100 participants.
One more honor that the town has received is actually more of a personal one for Morris, as her family was named the tennis family of the year. This is an honor that Bowman and his family have shared in the past, and because of the Morris family’s continued commitment to the sport, they have received this honor.
All of these awards will be presented to the tennis association in January, and it’s a clear sign that with this type of commitment to the sport in New Albany, tennis is going to continue to grow and improve.
Some things to look forward to in the coming months include the next tournament that will be held in November. This will be a level three tournament, which is a step above the ones recently held during the summer. Also, Bowman will have his pro shop completed and fully running on site at the park.
If you haven’t had a chance to go out and experience the facility for yourself, do so some time. I speak from experience that it is a great place to go and play, and even if you’re looking for some good tennis to watch, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so in the next year.
The tennis association should be commended for its outstanding promotion and dedication.