Fort Bragg has a new king of the court.
Douglas Hedges, a civilian Womack Army Medical Center employee, took home the 35 and older B level championship during the post tennis tournament, May 5.
Hedges defeated Arnel David, Company D, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, in a decisive 6-3 set win and tie-breaking 7-6 set win in the tournament which ran May 4 through 6 which the event featured singles and doubles tennis divisions for both men and women.
“I can finally win one,” said Hedges. “ I’ve been close a lot of times, but I always seem to mess up and not pull it out. “It was nice that I was able to pull this one out today.”
Hedges who spends his free time serving as vice-president of the Wizard’s Tennis Association, which competes at Mazarick Park in Fayetteville used a pre match strategy and crafty ball placement in the net area helped him secure his victory.
“I just wanted to survive,” said Hedges. “I played two matches last night and I was pretty tired. What I really wanted to do was get some quick points so we wouldn’t to have to stay out there too long. It looks like we stayed out there a long time anyways.”
Arnel, a casual tennis player, used the tournament as a competitive return to the game.
“I play with my wife and Family, but it’s been since I was in high school that I played seriously,” said Arnel. “I just wanted to get the ball in. He is a better player. I’m not that talented and I’m not that skilled, but I knew if I could get the ball in, I could hopefully outlast him.”
Even though the tournament didn’t earn him a championship, Arnel said he enjoyed just being on the court. The two overtime matches in the qualifying rounds showed Arnel that he could compete with all of the tournament competitors.
“I outlasted every opponent up until now,” said Arnel. “I think I was underdog, but I just kept going and going out here. I’m pleased with my performance.”
Fort Bragg’s tennis courts are open to all ID cardholders and their Families, and it is a sport that Kurt Phoenix, sports specialist, wishes other participants would join.
“It adds to the physical fitness of Family members. It’s enjoyable and a good sport all around,” Phoenix said.
In an effort to increase participation in tennis, Fort Bragg officials have taken measures such as ordering new rackets and tennis balls for people who show up to the courts without equipment, and officials have had new tennis nets and dividers installed, Phoenix said. The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation has also allocated $160,000 for the resurfacing of the courts on post.
A tennis social is held Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, 5:30 to 8 p.m. for those interested in participating.
For more information about joining tennis events on Fort Bragg, visit www.fortbraggmwr.com or call 396-1217.