Alycia Parks

FILE — Alycia Parks, US, digs for a backhand return in a match at Georgia’s Rome Open women’s pro tennis tournament in January.

The list of major tournaments at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College includes more than half a dozen that will bring in people from all over the country during the last nine months of the year.

Couple those tournaments with the Atlantic Coast Conference championships in April, state adult league championships and Georgia High School Association championships in May and it looks like the tennis center is poised to make a comeback.

Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism Director Lisa Smith and Rome Sports Commission Director Ann Hortman told civic leaders Thursday that recovery is the name of the game at the tennis center this year.

The economic impact of tennis events in Rome dropped from $4.9 million in 2019 to $1.7 million in 2020 as 36 tournaments were cancelled due to the pandemic. This year officials are optimistic again.

“We picked up a ton of new tournaments and we feel that it’s back to usual,” Smith said.

The impact of tennis had been in the range of $4.8 million to $4.9 million in each of the three years prior to 2020.

The USTA Georgia Bowl Level 3 youth tournament is scheduled for this weekend.

The ACC men’s and women’s championships will be staged April 20-25. Spectators will be limited to two per player due to the COVID-19 situation. Hortman and Smith said there are still a lot of volunteer opportunities, which will be the only way locals will be able to see action.

The University of North Carolina men and women are both undefeated at this point and heavy favorites to win.

The USTA Girls 14 &U National Championships will be played August 7-15.

The tourism office took over operation of the tennis center in June of last year.

What sets the Rome facility apart from others across the Southeast is the level of customer service visitors receive, Smith said.

“When you come here ... you are made to feel like a rockstar,” Smith said. “That is our job every day.”

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