CHESHIRE – The 14th Annual Wint Filipek Sr. Memorial Tennis Tournament kicked off this weekend at the Copper Valley Swim and Tennis Club with a full roster of action across the various divisions of play as well as with the annual Children’s Clinic and the Sunday entertainment day.
It was a sunny start. According to the weather reports, this is likely to change.
If the weather becomes an issue during the week, tournament director Wint Filipek, Jr. has options in place. He is, after all, something of an old pro in this area.
“With a tournament of this size, of course, the rain is causing chaos,” said Filipek. “We have contingency plans, however. We have indoor courts all over the state of Connecticut, facilities that have helped us and allowed us to use their indoor courts. We actually predicted a few rainy days in the tournament this year and we might just move some games to those days. “
In the tournament’s 14th year, Filipek continues to find new ways to improve the event and make exciting and fun additions for players.
“We added five new divisions this year for people at different levels,” said Filipek. “About eight years ago we had this wonderful gentleman, Dave Jordan from Vermont, who invented a ball machine called the Boomer. He offered to reduce it again this year.
Boomer is an interactive tennis machine. It serves balls to players like a normal tennis machine. What makes Boomer different is that the machine actually talks and interacts with the players.
According to Filipek, the kids really like it.
The young player also benefits from the Kids Clinic and the Fun Day of the tournament during which volunteers gave free tennis lessons. The clinic is run by Filipek’s son Michael, a tennis pro. Free food and raffles were also on the program on Sunday.
“I worked with Michael Filipek. I worked with him last summer and I’m doing it again this summer. It’s a lot of fun, ”said Portland volunteer Molly Garcia. “We do a lot of forehand and backhand exercises with the kids. We work on serves and steals. I try to get them to move their feet as much as possible. Just let them have fun.
Maloney tennis player Kadee Nowicky attended Sunday’s event and will compete in the Filipek tournament for the first time this week.
“It looks very organized. I like clay courts and it looks like he has a really nice setup, ”Nowicky said. “Looks like it’s very well structured and I already think I’ll be doing it again when I come back from college next year.
Cheshire Academy tennis coach Chip Boyd was one of the volunteers working at the children’s clinic on Sunday. Boyd has been the Cheshire Academy coach for 30 years and is a longtime friend of the Filipek family.
“It’s very local; we all see our tennis friends, ”Boyd said. “The Filipeks deserve a lot of credit for building this community. They have been in this field for a long time and are an iconic tennis family. They are great people and they have done a lot for the sport locally. What makes it such a great tournament is that it is friendship based and local.
Wint Filipek is very happy with the prospects for the tournament this year. Organizers have met their target in terms of participants and the tournament, recognized as the Special Tennis Event of the Year in 2016 by USTA-New England, continues to thrive.
“I think our host site, Copper Valley Club, looks better than it has ever been. Truly a beautiful place, ”said Filipek. “I think the whole environment looks really good this year, and even the children’s clinic and the fun day are going better than ever, so we’re very happy so far. “