Andy Roddick, one of America’s top professional tennis players, sharpened his game in the Copper Bowl tournament.
The next Andy Roddick has similar net objectives this week, when more than 1,000 young tennis players from 45 states, Canada and Mexico are descending upon Tucson for the 19th annual Copper Bowl.
The event runs Jan. 2-7, starting at 10 sites and eventually concentrating at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort in Oro Valley.
Tournament organizer Jason Dickinson is pleased with the turnout, which is of similar size to previous years. “I was a little concerned with the economy, but the event seems to be doing well,” he said.
“The logistics and the coordination is quite a job,” said Jay Wilson, a SaddleBrooke volunteer who met Dickinson while the director was preparing courts on Monday. “He seemed to have it well in hand.”
The Copper Bowl is “a big project,” allowed Dickinson, whose father Don started the event in the late 1980s. “I have a lot of staff while it’s going on.” Jason’s wife Nina handles all the administration. Tucsconan Sam Fields is the head referee.
There are 128-player draws in boys’ and girls’ under-12, under-14, under 16- and under-18 divisions. The 31-court El Conquistador is the “main site” for the tournament, Dickinson said, with all the action at the resort beginning Monday. This weekend, early-round play in the Northwest also centers upon SaddleBrooke, Sun City Vistoso, Ironwood Ridge High School, the Westward Look Resort, the Westin La Paloma and Catalina Foothills High School. The University of Arizona, Randolph Park and the Fort Lowell Tennis Center also host competition.
Spectators can watch at no charge. “We’d love to have them,” Dickinson said.
A qualifier tournament began Tuesday at the Hilton. Next Monday, all the age groups move to the El Conquistador for final action. There is no cash for the winners. “We give out kachina dolls as our trophies,” Dickinson said. “We keep it Tucson-specific.”
Dickinson is in his fifth year running the show. His father Don, now a teacher at Ironwood Ridge High School, was director of tennis at the Hilton when he began the tournament.
“It started as a relatively small local tournament, and it just kept growing,” said Jason. “It ended up on the (U.S. Tennis Association) national junior schedule, so now players who come to our tournament earn points toward their