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Summer tennis programs rebound in 2021

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:08 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Tennis In Mankato returned to a normal summer schedule this year after COVID wiped out some of the group’s opportunities in 2020.

Those programs are rebounding in 2021 along with a growing interest for the sport.

“I think with obviously the last year here, people are just excited to get out of the house. They’re learning of different things to keep themselves busy,” said Adam Doll, Tennis In Mankato co-director.

One of those activities could be fitness tennis put on by Tennis In Mankato every Monday and Wednesday out at the Mankato East tennis courts.

The group typically sees over 60 adults each week.

Tennis In Mankato along with the Greater Mankato Community Tennis Association provide a number of ways to get involved in the game.

There’s around 350 youth players K-12 out for tennis as all ages get into the action.

“I have kids that are three years old playing tennis this summer, to a 72 or 78 year old out there today. We’re seeing all ages having success. It’s fun when you see the kids in the morning, the kids in the morning. As a family, when they get older, they get to play together which is really cool too,” Doll added.

Soon, all those in the tennis community will have a way to play year round with an indoor facility featuring six tennis courts coming to the Caswell Park Sports Complex in North Mankato.

“So many of our players in the conference for our East and West programs work so hard year round, then they go and play Century or Mayo who play year round. Our kids do a great job competing, but it’s hard when you play kids who play year round. At the high school level, it evens the playing field. It’s going to be awesome to see how we compete with the top schools in Minnesota. We’ll be starting to look at section championships because of that facility for years to come,” said Doll.

For now, the GMCTA will take advantage of this summer weather and host the annual Riverbend Tennis Classic this weekend which is back on after a year off. The competition showcases brackets for all ages and draws in talent from all over.

“We’ll pull people from throughout the state, even Iowa, South Dakota. It’s fun to see lots of these little towns like Mankato, St. Peter, St. James have these tournaments. We have our own little mini circuit going on celebrating prep for US Open in the fall. It’s amazing to see everybody come in and have a good time,” said Jeff Thomae, GMCTA president.

The Riverbend Tennis Classic is set to begin on Friday and will run through Sunday.

Registration for the Classic ends on Tuesday.

For more information on the tennis program’s, you can visit https://www.tennisinmankato.com/.

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