Pam Punch, (left) helps Valerie Lavan, North Augusta, (far right) sign up her daughters Tiana, 9, (left center) and Terese, 14, (right center) for a league at Patersburg Racquet Club Saturday.
Terese Lavan, of North Augusta, has been playing tennis for six years - since she was 8.
Terese, 14, and her younger sister Tiana, 9, signed up for the CSRA Tennis Association Fall 2002 Junior Tennis League at Petersburg Racquet Club on Saturday morning with about 100 other local players. Tiana has only been playing off and on, but wants to play more.
The JTL is the place for her to learn in a more relaxed atmosphere than competitive matches.
"It is supposed to try to encourage the kids who are not just year-round tennis players to get out and get some match experience as opposed to just have to play in the tournaments," said Pam Punch, JTL coordinator. "It is not like a tournament with the same amount of pressure. It's very relaxed."
Players from all over the CSRA joined the league, including many from North Augusta. League players can play in one of four age groups: 10 and under, 12 and under, 14 and under and 14 and over. They also play within their own skill levels.
Match play begins Sept. 22 and runs through November with matches at 2 p.m. Sundays. Depending on the number of teams, each player is expected to participate in five or six matches.
"It is a good little league," Punch said.
The cost is $12 per player, which covers court fees and a t-shirt. United States Tennis Association membership is required. If a player needs membership, they can join by calling (800) 990-8782 for a faxed confirmation or visiting www.usta.com, which provides immediate confirmation upon joining.
Teams or individual players can enter. Playerswith no team will be assigned to one.
A limited number of slots are still available and can be filled until Saturday. For more information, call Dave Gleason at the racquet club at (706) 860-9288 or Jim Irish at Westlake Country Club at (706) 863-4018.
"Tennis is just a great sport because you can play it for a long time and you can play it within your rating," Punch said. "It is a nice way to be a little bit competitive even if you are not the best tennis player."
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