Tennis still isn’t what it once was in Maysville, but the sport’s popularity is growing in the area with the help of a group of players that meet a couple of times a week.
The Maysville Adult Tennis League started at the end of May and has seen an increase in attendance for the matches played at the Maysville-Mason County Recreation Park on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
“We’ve had about 24 different people play, ranging between 18 and 66 [years old], so we’ve got people playing right out of high school, to ministers in town, industrial authority directors, lawyers, school teachers and tennis coaches,” said Travis Scaggs, who helped organize the group. “We’re just trying to get a little more buzz around tennis.”
The group created a Facebook page to keep those interested up to date with when they are playing. They play from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., unless severe weather causes them to cancel. They plan on continuing to play throughout the fall, before stopping for the winter. The plan is to pick back up again next spring.
“It’s competitive tennis, but it’s also guys having a lot of fun, enjoying the nice weather and getting good exercise,” said Andy Clarke, another organizer of the group.
There are no standings or tournaments yet, though they’ve thought about the possibility of having a tournament in the future.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t competitive, however.
“It’s more like bragging rights, you know?” said Scaggs. “We all want to win, but at the end of the day it’s all about fellowship and getting more players involved and spreading the love of tennis.”
Scaggs says he was taught tennis by his late grandfather when he was in about third or fourth grade, and he continued playing throughout middle and high school. His typical doubles partner is Patrick Kelsch, the Robertson County boys’ basketball coach. His grandfather used to play at Beechwood Park, back when the area had a large tennis scene.
“They had an A League and they had a B League and winners basically stayed on the courts and losers kind of waited. We don’t have that here, but we kind of rotate and match up on skill level and go from there,” said Scaggs.
“We probably range between six and 12 (people), so we’re just trying to drum up some more interest to where tennis was when it was in its hay day, back in the Beechwood Park days when you had to wait for courts,” added Scaggs. “We’re just trying to get out and get some more buzz on tennis.”
Scaggs and Clarke have been playing in the summer for years with Clay Boone, who, in 2017, led the Mason County girls’ tennis team to their first 10th Region title in 26 years. Boone also hosts an annual youth tennis camp in Maysville.
“Clay has been great for tennis in the Maysville community. He used to coach at Mason County and he’s worked a lot with youngsters in trying to start them early at tennis and really build a program,” said Clarke. “Several summers ago I played a decent amount with Clay. Travis came out with that and this is just trying to make it a little more formal, more organized.”
Boone resigned following the championship season and was replaced by Matt Jolley, who moved to the area from Alabama that January. Jolley was a co-captain of the Gadsden State Community College tennis team and coached at Edge Tennis Academy in Hoover, Alabama, before making the move to Kentucky. He was another person involved with getting the Maysville Adult Tennis League started.
“I had heard in the past that there was a men’s league, then I moved up here,” said Jolley. “I came from Birmingham and I played in probably two or three leagues a week, so I’d play singles, doubles and then combo league. There’s no USTA leagues here, so when you go from playing a ton and you know people have done it in the past, it was just getting them to do it again.”
Tennis in Maysville might not yet be back at the level it was during the Beechwood Park days, but the Maysville Adult Tennis League has started to bring the popularity of the sport back to the area.
“Tennis, I think, is growing here in this area. It’s always been important to people. We’re just trying to bring back the love for tennis and the fellowship and that’s what we all enjoy – getting to know each other,” said Scaggs. “We’ve got different types of backgrounds here, different types of jobs and we just share a love for tennis.”