Close to 180 athletes and their families made their way to Taos to be part of the 40th Taos Open tennis tournament held at Quail Ridge Resort July 6-8.
A favorite destination of tennis aficionados, the open has become one of the largest tennis tournaments in New Mexico, drawing a mix of competitors from all over the state and the country.
According to Taos Open organizer Kurt Edelbrock, the popularity of this tournament brings tennis players back year-after-year.
"Many players go ahead and reserve their lodging for next year's event before they depart for their homes," said Edelbrock, whose immersion in the sport includes his participation as player, coach, administrator (as interscholastic rules committee member) and shop owner. "This has become the tennis getaway for players and their families, and we're delighted to have them."
This year's open had 31 total brackets or round robin schedules, and was on par with past tournaments that regularly see over 170 participants with over 175 matches played. Brackets included men's and women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles brackets played during the three-day event. This year, an additional five brackets dedicated to senior (50 years and older) players were added to the tourney.
"We strive for parity in our tournaments," said Edelbrock, who won this event in 1979 when the format was different and constituted only an "open" division. "All our entrants are members of the United States Tennis Association and are matched up with equally skilled players throughout the tournament."
"This is the joy of the NTRP system," Edelbrock said, referring to the National Tennis Rating Program that places a player into a level of play that best suits their abilities and skills. In this way, players receive the most enjoyment by playing against other players of a similar skill level.
With such a great turnout, Edelbrock and his staff were extremely busy throughout each of the three days. A rainstorm halted play, however, on Saturday (July 7), offering a slight reprieve for the gracious host.
The disruption did cause some cancellations and pushed some scheduled matches into the following day, but the moisture and cooler temps were a welcome relief. The backlog of matches was cooperatively handled by High Altitude Fitness, and contests on the winner's bracket continued without a hitch.
"High Altitude Fitness in El Prado has four tennis courts of their own, and they helped us tremendously," said Edelbrock. "We're grateful to them for allowing us to schedule some of our games on their courts."
Touted as one of the top 50 tennis resorts in the world, the Quail Ridge Inn can hold nine matches at a time and is surrounded by condominiums where most attendees stayed.
In a post-match interview with a cluster of players from one of the outer courts on the Quail Ridge campus, rave reviews were given.
"I wouldn't miss this tournament for the world," said one sun-beaten and sweaty gentleman. "All you have to do is look around and see the beauty of this place."
"Plus," another chimed in, "Kurt is the best. See y'all next year."