We have been inundated with record snow in January, but one sport is braving the elements Saturday no matter the weather. A total of 228 players will compete in the 46th annual American Platform Tennis Association Junior National Championships at clubs in New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Wilton. The tournament finals will be held at Waveny Park in New Canaan. Players from as far as Chicago and Pittsburgh will participate. The tournament is sponsored by ONS, Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists of Greenwich.
"I think one of the most exciting things about this tournament is that the national championship is being hosted by a public municipal facility," tournament director Steve Caccam said. "It's a sport that has almost been exclusively at private clubs, and we're very excited to attract new players. With new courts at Waveny Park, it's gotten really big in the last four or five years."
Matches begin at 11 a.m. Saturday with the finals set to start at about 2:30 p.m. Players will be grouped by age and gender: 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under and 18 and under. Players from all over the country will kick off the festivities Friday night with a welcome party.
Platform tennis , or paddle tennis, is a variation played outside in the cold of winter, and it's growing in popularity in the area. The playing surface is a raised platform a quarter the size of a standard tennis court. The court is surrounded by 12-foot-high, tightly strung, heavy-gauge wire screens that let players keep the ball in play after it bounces off the court. The racquet and ball are slightly different from traditional tennis as well to accommodate how the cold affects the flight of the ball.
"[Platform tennis] is a great winter sport," Caccam said. "The points last much longer than in tennis, and it's a great way to stay active in the winter months."
The matches will take place no matter the weather unless there is significant freezing rain or a foot of snow on the day of the tournament.
Are you planning to attend the APTA Junior National Championships? Do you play platform tennis? Tell us about it below!
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