National Ranking Tournament Offers Unique Opportunity for Steamboat Tennis Players

John Truchel rips a backhand volley in the men’s singles draw of the NTRP Championships at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center on July 29, 2022.
Tom Skulski / Steamboat Pilot and Today

The Steamboat Alpine Bank National Tennis Rating Program Championships kicked off on Friday morning, July 29, ahead of a weekend full of excitement at the Steamboat Springs Tennis and Pickleball Center.

This tournament is filled with brackets ranging from a beginner skill level of 2.5 to a high level player of 5.5 to give everyone a chance to compete at their rank and to ensure that anyone interested can be included.

Traditionally one of the largest adult tennis tournaments in the state of Colorado, the 2022 NTRP Championships had a 150 player limit due to the construction of the complex. They have normally targeted 250-300 entrants in the past, but once construction is complete they can likely accommodate over 400 entrants.

Bill Conway, director of tennis at the center, is proud of this tournament and likes to put it on every year. Since competitors come from all over, his favorite part is scheduling matches for players who have probably never faced each other in the past.

“What I always make it a point of is that no one in the same ZIP code plays each other in the first round,” Conway said.

The intention behind this is to ensure that players face new competition and potentially make new friends in the tennis community.

Conway expressed his excitement for local competing players finally getting the chance to play with people outside of Steamboat. Due to Steamboat’s location, it acts as a bubble and few in-town tennis players have the opportunity to compete with or against out-of-town players.

Men’s singles competitor Scot McDermott renders a serve during the NTRP Championships at the Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center on July 29, 2022.
Tom Skulski / Steamboat Pilot and Today

Kathy Fader, accountant for the tennis center, had the chance to participate in the tournament and represent Steamboat.

“There aren’t a lot of Steamboats in this tournament, so it’s always been a scare factor of people wanting to come in because they’re stronger. Their 3.0 in Denver is like our 2.5 here,” Fader said. .

Competitors from larger cities and towns can also participate in tournaments more often and build camaraderie with their doubles partner. This puts Steamboat at a disadvantage in these competitions.

Fader and her teammate lost their opener and were eliminated, but she’s guaranteed to have at least one more match this weekend when she faces her husband in one of the mixed doubles brackets.

Regardless of location, all participants receive freebies from tournament sponsors, which include everything from water bottles to socks to snacks.

Above all, Conway has the same goal every year. He just wants the quality of the tournament to surpass the previous year.

“Every year we have to improve it,” Conway said. “I always like to see the players because they can give me their opinion to try this and try that, but it’s that nervous energy that makes it our biggest event. ‘Can we do better than that? ‘last year?’ That’s always the thing.


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