to be honored at the
2015 Ojai tennis tournament
by Rich Neher
Tickets are now on sale for the Friday
night wine reception with former world no. 1 who burst onto the
tennis scene more than 50 years ago.
One of The Ojais greatest champions
will return to the picturesque setting of Libbey Park in downtown
Ojai more than 50 years after first appearing at one of the oldest
and storied tournaments in the country. Former world No. 1, Wimbledon
champion and USC All-American Stan Smith will be the featured
guest at the Thursday Night BBQ on April 23, that will help kick
off the 115th edition of the tournament to take place April 22-26
at venues all over Ventura County.
In addition, Smith will appear at a special
wine and hors doeuvre reception in his honor Friday night,
April 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room.
A fundraising event to be used for capital improvements for the
tournament, tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased online
or by emailing event organizer Carolyn Burke at: email@example.com.
Smith now lives in Hilton Head Island,
S.C., and runs his own junior tennis academy. But Ojai is never
far from his thoughts when he thinks about how it all began.
The highlight of playing at The
Ojai was getting to play on a private court, Smith recalled
recently. The main goal of course was to play on the main
Libbey Park courts. That was really special. And the orange juice
stand was the other highlight. Its funny how certain things
stand out in your mind.
As a junior we got to see the college
players and they were the best around. And as collegians it was
a very special trip for us, Smith added.
Smith is a personal friend of Ojais
Mark Weil, who runs the Weil Tennis Academy. Smiths daughter
has trained at the Weil Academy, and Smiths son is the
mens head tennis coach at Duke University where he was
a two-time All-American.
Originally from Pasadena, Smith won Ojai
collegiate titles in 1966, 67 and 68 and won Ojai
titles in the junior and open divisions, as well.
Smith was a two-time Grand Slam singles
champion who, along with his doubles partner Bob Lutz, formed
one of the most successful doubles teams of all time. Smith was
inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 and
in 2011 he became the president of the Hall of Fame.
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And on Instagram: @OjaiTennis.
About The Ojai
The Ojai Valley Tennis Club, Inc., is
a non-profit organization that was established in 1895 by William
Thacher. In 1896, the Ojai Valley Tennis Club initiated its first
valley-wide tournament consisting of a single elimination mixed
doubles event and The Ojai was born. Today the Ojai Valley Tennis
Club is still running The Ojai but has broadened its mission
to promoting interest in physical fitness and tennis, and providing
recreational facilities for young people throughout the area.