From July 8-10, Fernie’s James White Park will be the location for the first Fernie East Kootenay Open, a tennis tournament that is hosted by the Fernie Tennis Community Association (FTCA). The event will have men’s and women’s singles and doubles. The event will have $1,100 in prize money and is bringing athletes from as far as Medicine Hat and Calgary.
“The weekend schedule will have 45 matches being played, when you think of it that way there will be quite a lot of tennis being played over the weekend. And the advertised $1,000 in prize money will actually be $1,100,” said the Director of the Fernie Tennis Community Association, Rob Oleksiuk.
Registration closed at the end of June and Oleksiuk was happily surprised with the number of entries the inaugural event received.
“Registration closed on June 26. We did not fill all the spots but we had 15 of 16 entries for men’s singles and six of the eight possible men’s doubles teams. There were eight women’s singles entries and seven women’s doubles teams, so we are certainly close to full,” he said.
Match policies are a five-minute warm up, a late player policy of five minutes means loss of coin toss and one game and 15 minutes late is a loss of match. Single match policies are best of three sets with the third set as a 10-point tiebreak. Main Draw Finals will use a regular third set. Double match policies are the same as singles with the addition of no advantage scoring and at 40-40 the receiving team will choose the side for deciding point.
The club recommends that players arrive 15 minutes before their first match, as they will need to fill out the tournament form and waiver. Players who arrive early will be eligible for the draw prize, players who do not arrive 15 minutes early will not be eligible for the draw.
According to Oleksiuk, the biggest challenge to event organization is the “Fernie weather”.
“Looks like weather may be an issue for the event. We have the classic Fernie forecast of sun, cloud and rain for the weekend but other than that we have had very few problems organizing it. We have had great reception in town, especially from Canfor, our lead sponsor and the ski hill,” he said. “It has been relatively easy to plan and has been great.”
The FTCA is planning on having a cash only onsite barbeque for Saturday and Sunday. Their plan is to have of beef, salmon, hot dog and veggie burger options. Oleksiuk added that the event would not be possible without the many sponsors of the East Kootenay Open.