Wilson World Tennis Classic

January 19-27, 2019. Rancho Mirage, CA


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Photos taken by Leslie Airola

By Leslie Airola-Murveit


Every January I make an exception to my rule that I don’t travel by plane to any tournaments without a feed-in consolation bracket. The Wilson World Tennis Classic has many positives that draw me back each year even though I have to jump on a plane to get there. While January is one of the grayest and rainiest months in Northern Cal, in Palm Desert I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my face without getting a sunburn and trading in my warm jacket for a light sweater.


This year many players in my age group must have felt similarly because the women’s 60’s was a draw of 16 in singles, and had eight doubles teams. I enjoyed catching up with Southern Cal friends, meeting Canadian snowbirds and even bumping into the ninety-year-old mom of a high school friend.


The competition in this Super Cat II tournament is as strong as any Category I tournament in many age groups. The tournament draws Californians, of course, but has its compliment of top seeded Mountain and Midwest players and even a couple from the East coast. It includes a Cat I mixed doubles tournament for the 60 to 80 year olds the weekend before the Cat II begins that gives doubles specialists the chance to shine in multiple events. Tournament directors Ed Trost and his wife Jayne do a nice job orchestrating matches for six hundred fifty players from thirty states as well as from Canadian provinces.  The social highlight of the week is a dinner and dance party at the Mission Hills Country Club.


Next year the tournament will move 15 minutes away to Shadow Mountain Resort in Palm Desert. Ed Trost will assist as a new Tournamet Director Caerwyn Evans takes over. I’ll continue my tradition of kicking off the tournament season in the desert and will be recruiting some new players from my club to join the fun. I’ll be one year older, but I’ll have the advantage of being the youngest player in my “new” older division--one of the few advantages of growing older.