Two local athletes are among the top seeds in the S.C. Closed Junior Hardcourt Championships, which begin today at the Lexington County Tennis Center and Cayce Tennis and Fitness Centers.
If they emerge as champions, Lexington’s Logan Adkins and Morgan Patterson each could go international.
This year, tournament organizers have added a wildcard into the International Tennis Federation South Carolina tournament main draw as a reward for the Boys and Girls 18s division champions. Lexington’s Morgan Patterson is seeded second in the Girls 18s division.
A wildcard bid to the ITF tournament’s qualifying round is the prize for Boys and girls 16s champions.
“We want to encourage our South Carolina kids to play in those tournaments, and without an international ranking it would be very hard for these kids to get into the qualifiers or main draw for that event,” said Hardcourts tournament director Jorge Andrew.
Lexington’s Logan Adkins, the No. 3 seed in the Boys 16 field, said the wild card is an excellent draw.
“It makes it a little more interesting. It’s serious at ITF and there are more college coaches there, and people recognize you more, so I want to win a little bit more,” Adkins said.
“(Hardcourts) is a great one to try to get out and win to build confidence,” he said. “And then to have the opportunity to play at the ITF, it is even more important.”
Andrew said the extra reward should ratchet up the competition in an already strong field.
“With the start of the tournament at the end of the Fourth of July weekend, there are a lot of people out of town, but we still have a very strong field. The best players in the state are here,” Andrew said.
This year, the 167-player field is split over two locations, with the 10s, 12s and 14s competing at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, and the older divisions playing at Lexington.
The tournament concludes with championships on July 10.