The tennis tournaments keep flowing into Lexington County.
The USTA Southern Section recently selected the county to host a sectional team tournament each of the next two summers. The complexes in Cayce and the Oak Grove area also have drawn the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships held last month and again next October and an International Tennis Federation event for world-class junior players each November.
USTA officials in town for the Jr. Team event last month were impressed with the new Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, which opened last year. Lexington was selected for the sectional events over several top resort areas that bid to host the tournaments, said Dene Hearn Owen, director of adult events for the USTA Southern Section.
The last time the Southern Sectionals came to the area, in 2003 and 2004, the event was touted as the largest tournament in the country with 2,100 players. Since then, it has been broken into four separate events. Lexington is getting Session I of the Adult 18s, which will bring about 500 players to the area for three nights each year.
The sectional events pit the winners of state team tennis titles in various categories against other state winners from the Southeast. The winners at the Lexington event move on to the national championships.
A USC study of the 2003 event in Lexington found it generated $13.2 million in economic impact for the region. Because the upcoming events are much smaller, the economic impact will be smaller, but hotels and restaurants near the complexes will be busier than normal those summer weekends.