When Walker Chaffin, tournament director of the Capital Tennis Association (CTA), asked attendants of last year's Capital Classic Tournament, via e-mail, how things could be improved for next year's event, everyone asked that the matches be held at one location, as opposed to last year's split between Southwest D.C. and College Park, Md., he says.
''Everyone said, 'Sometimes I'd miss my friend's match because they were at another site'.''
That's why organizers planned the 15th annual Capital Classic Tournament, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, through Monday, Sept. 10, at one location, Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, located at the intersection of 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW.
''We had to lower the draws a little bit, [from 230 players] to 200, that way we can fit everyone on one site, so that everybody can see everybody play,'' Chaffin says, adding that negotiations with Rock Creek Park resulted in it becoming a permanent location for the tournament in the years to come.
In addition to that change, Chaffin says organizers moved up the date of the tournament from late October to mid-September to avoid the cold.
Although registration to play is closed at this point, the games are free to watch and open to the public, Chaffin says. As always, the tournament is a charity event.
Last year, CTA, a local not-for-profit organization that coordinates and promotes tennis in the gay community, donated over $15,000 to the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL). This year's beneficiary is Washington AIDS Partnership, an organization that privately provides funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and care services in metropolitan Washington.
''One of the CTA members, J. Channing Wickham, happens to be the director of Washington AIDS Partnership, and he came and gave us [a presentation] and we thought the money would be used best through him this year,'' Chaffin says.
CTA is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance, an international group that manages and sanctions the gay and lesbian tennis tournament circuit. For more information, visit www.capclassic.org.