GODFREY – Qualifying for the 18th Annual Lewis and Clark Community College Men’s Pro Tennis Classic started Saturday at the Andy Simpson Tennis Complex and Alton High School tennis courts.
Players from all over the nation and world compete in the L&C USTA Pro Circuit Futures tournament each year.
Pablo Landa Catan, of Mexico, said his first year competing in the Lewis and Clark tournament is going well.
Catan, a freshman at the University of Illinois who is recovering from an injury, won a 3-hour match against American John Mee 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
“Today’s win against a good competitor was a confidence builder,” Catan said. “The facility and people here are great. I’m glad to be moving forward.”
There also are local connections. Brothers Grant and Grayson Goldin, of Bradenton, Florida, were born in Illinois and are staying with their grandparents Jeff and Jean Hendrickson in Godfrey.
Grant Goldin, 19, said this was his first time playing in a USTA Pro Circuit Tournament. He said although he lost 6-3, 6-3 to American Gabe Tishman, it was a good experience.
“My brother and I have been playing tennis all of our lives, and we both recently had some setbacks. I am battling back from a shoulder injury and he is playing his first pro tourney since getting over a bad bout of mono,” Goldin said.
Grayson Goldin, 20, drew a wild card into the main draw, which begins Tuesday. The brothers plan to team up for the doubles round.
“This is a nice tournament, and it’s great to be here in Godfrey where we have family to stay with and support us. It means a lot to us,” Grayson Goldin said.
Goldin’s cousin Julie Hendrickson-Kline and other family members were cheering for Grant Goldin Saturday.
“We are happy we get to watch Grayson and Grant play right here at home,” Kline said. “They are very talented.”
Being able to stay with family or host families is important for the players according to Nancy Simpson, housing director for the tournament. She said volunteers are still needed this year to house players, and anyone interested may call her at (618) 462-8870.
Tournament play continues tomorrow with 32 players vying for a spot in Tuesday’s singles main draw.
To view, download and share images from the tournament, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/