World class tennis returns to Midland - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

World class tennis returns to Midland

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MIDLAND (WJRT) -

(02/10/14) - Forget the Olympics - there's a chance to see world-class athletes right here in Mid-Michigan.

You have until Sunday to see some of the world's top athletes, and many more who are trying to make a name for themselves, at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland.

Monday, the qualifying rounds continued at the Midland Tennis Center.

Watching intently was Sherry Pluskota. Her daughter Natalie is trying to make her mark on the USTA Pro Circuit. "It is not an easy road. It's a lonely road," Pluskota said.

But on this trip, all the way Atlanta, Natalie has her mom. She is one of an estimated 15,000 people the tournament brings to town.

"We've made really a tennis tournament into a grand community event," said executive director Mike Woody.

The community really benefits. It's estimated this one tournament pumps $1.4 million into the economy.

"This event goes beyond just the court," Woody said.

Beth Sanford, who's here cheering on her daughter from Ohio, says it's not hard to spend money on the road. "Usually always forget something, so having a mall in town is great. We've been to the mall, we've been over to Office Depot to pick up the things we needed to stay here for the week if need be," Sanford said.

"Of course hotels and restaurants, and you know, we go grocery shopping and of course gas for the car," Pluskota said.

It's expensive, and tiring, but worth every penny and moment, according to the tennis moms.

Next trip, they hope their daughters will be introduced as some of the top players at the tournament - like defending champion Lauren Davis and two-time champion Lucie Hradecka.

"It's going to be the same kind of tennis you'd see at the U.S. Open, Wimbeldon. It's going to be up close and fun," Woody said.

New this year, all matches on Stadium Court will be streamed live and there will be live online scoring for all matches. Click HERE to find those links.

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