FARMINGTON >> After a successful youth tournament, adults are preparing their forehands and backhands for this weekend's tennis tournament in Farmington.
The 27th Annual Citizens Bank Adult Tennis Tournament will be held this weekend, beginning Friday and running through the championship round Sunday afternoon at the Farmington Sports Complex.
The long partnership between Citizens Bank and the Farmington tennis community has made the event a long-lasting success.
"The community appreciates it quite a bit. We have been doing this forever it seems like," said Pat McGrath, the head coach of Farmington High girls' tennis and a competitor in this weekend's tournament. "When you go to other tournament, it costs you $45 at least. They only charge a minimum fee here, and everybody appreciates it. This is the only adult tournament played in Farmington right now, and it is a lot of fun."
Citizens Bank decided to start sponsoring an adult tennis tournament due to the abundance of golf tournaments in the area and a lack of tennis.
"There was no other tennis tournament in the area. We wanted to do something different than golf, and we are happy with how it has progressed," said Kim Lien of Citizens Bank. "It is great working with McGrath and (FHS boys' head coach Larry Larson) because they have all the tennis contacts in town, and they have both been wonderful for the tournament."
Several families sign up for the tournament, and the opportunity for father/daughter or mother/son mixed doubles teams is fun for the players. The chance to organize all of the local tennis players at one time is another big benefit, McGrath said.
"The thing about tennis is everybody usually plays at different times. Eight of the guys play on Wednesday nights together and a lot of the ladies play in the morning," he said. "Everyone is friends and stuff, but you don't get to see them on the courts as much. This gets everyone playing at the same time, and it is a lot of fun."
Players from Durango and Cortez, Colo., will also be in the field this weekend, along with local stars such as Jeff Clark, a former Farmington High state champ who played for Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
"There are big bragging rights with the men's singles," Lien said. "All the guys want to knock off Clark or hit a ball by Larson. It is a big thing trying to be the No. 1 guy."
The 17th Annual Citizens Bank Youth Tennis Tournament was held last weekend. For the first time, a new 10-and-under age division was created, and 20 youngsters helped make up the field of 56 players who were 18-and-under in the tournament.
"We gave the 10-and-under kids softer balls to use and a smaller court. It is great for them to get out there and be able to hit the ball back and forth a few times each point," McGrath said. "There was one little girl playing who was just smiling the whole time. Her mom asked why she was smiling so big, and she said she didn't have to watch anymore. She got to play. They all just want to play. It is great to have them just playing and not worrying about winning. Quite often, this is the first tournament the kids play in and the hope is that it will excite them enough to continue playing."
The highlight of the youth tournament was the 18-and-under singles final between Farmington High players Matt With and Will Hall. The two battled for two and a half hours with Hall upsetting With 6-7, 7-6 and 7-5.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.