St. Denis revives Breckenridg wheelchair tennis tournament
BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Wheelchair Tennis Tournament is back.
After a five-year run in the mid-1990s and a subsequent seven-year hiatus, the tournament returns to the Breckenridge Recreation Center courts Saturday and Sunday.
Dillon disabled tennis player Richard St. Denis is organizing the event as a fundraiser for The Mobility Project, of which St. Denis is the director of sports and recreation. The Mobility Project collects wheelchairs in America and donates them to people with disabilities throughout the world. St. Denis, a retired attorney, has traveled to Vietnam, Thailand, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico and Argentina in the last two years with The Mobility Project.
About 16 athletes, mostly from the Front Range, will compete in singles and doubles this weekend. On Sunday afternoon, after the morning singles final, able-bodied players will compete with wheelchair athletes in a one-up, one-down exhibition.
The only complicating factor is that wheelchair players get two bounces.
“It’s a fun way to get out there and mix up the play,” said Breckenridge tennis pro Dave Turrin. “It’s fun for both up and down players.”
Anyone interested in joining in should call St. Denis at (970) 262-5819 or go to the courts this weekend.
About half the field is experienced players, and the other half is new to the sport.
“We’ve got some very new people,” St. Denis said. “It’s pretty well divided up in terms of experience and ability.”
Event sponsors include the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, the town of Breckenridge, Boulder College of Massage Therapy, Creative House Plans, Camano’s, Lone Star Sports, City Market and Downstairs at Eric’s.
City Market will provide lunch, and Eric’s will provide dinner. There will be a silent auction Saturday night.
St. Denis was able to revive the tournament because of renewed interest from disabled athletes in tennis. Next year, he hopes to involve the Summit Foundation and offer prizes to winners.
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