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Tennis tourney marks return to sports
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Bryce Caten crushes a backhand during his Friday night match against Jackson Roberts of Manchester in the Security Federal Tennis Tournament. Caten beat Roberts, 8-3. Caten also pulled a first-round tournament shocker Thursday night by beating hard-hitting Tyler Tolhurst of Cookeville.
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Al Clark traveled from Winchester to compete in the Security Federal Tennis Tournament at McMinnville Civic Center. He partnered with John Solomon of Sewanee.

In what is believed to be the first official sporting event in Warren County since mid-March, the Security Federal Tennis Tournament took center stage at McMinnville Civic Center.

The three-day tournament started Thursday and crowned champions Saturday. It brought new life to a complex now shimmering with a new name – David Dunlap Tennis Complex.

“There are more people in this tournament than we’ve had in the past five years,” said Dunlap, indicating there were 87 competitors. “After everything that’s happened, it’s wonderful to be back out here.”

Along with a new name, the complex has new shine thanks to four resurfaced tennis courts. The playing surfaces haven’t been this good in decades.

Many competitors traveled from out of county to participate. Sports have been slow to crank up throughout Middle Tennessee and this event was an attention-grabber.

“I really doubted if we should have a tennis tournament,” said Dunlap. “The counties around us all seem to have low numbers, and we have low numbers, so that was the reason why. If I was in Nashville, I don’t think I’d have a tennis tournament.”

Al Clark made the trip from Winchester and partnered with Sewanee resident John Solomon. The two older gentlemen ran into a buzz saw of a team with two energetic teenagers and lost.

“Youth beats age,” said Solomon. 

Added Clark, “It was a tough draw for us.”

Carlene Brown and Susan Barrett are two enthusiasts who want to rejuvenate tennis in Warren County. The sport suffered a double fault when it comes to participation the past two years due to tennis court renovation.

“It’s been two years since the high school teams have really played here,” said Dunlap.

Brown is a former recreation director and Barrett is a former WCMS tennis coach. They say there’s no time like the present to start playing tennis – and they proved it by teaming together in the women’s doubles division.

“When it comes to social distancing, tennis is a safe sport,” said Barrett.

Added Brown, “People are so ready to play tennis. That’s why they’re here from a four-county area.”

The Standard will publish tournament winners when they become available.