River Crest Country Club tennis director Rafael Omana has played a big role in the Crawford-McMillan Pro Cup Tennis Tournament over the years, having won the tournament three times in its previous 15 years.
However, Omana will step aside next weekend when the tournament, which features top area teaching pros, will be played at the indoor courts at River Crest Country Club on Jan. 28-29. The tournament has become a favorite of local tennis fans as area pros square off in a battle for bragging rights, and maybe a little more.
“The great thing is that we get to play in front of the people we teach,” Omana said. “And they get to laugh at us when we do things that we tell them not to do. It’s also good to get to play against some of the other pros because we are always working and never really get a chance to see all those guys very often.”
Omana and his brother, Ricardo, have combined to win the tournament seven times, with Rafael happy to point out that one of his Pro Cup victories came at his brother’s expense.
Ricardo Omana, a Shady Oaks Country Club pro, will be looking for his fifth Pro Cup title. The former ATP Tour player and member of the Venezuelan Davis Cup team, also served as captain of the Venezuelan women’s Fed Cup team for two years, and that experience could come in handy when he partners with former UT Arlington standout Monika Benitez from Siauliai, Lithuania.
While Rafael Omana is stepping aside this year, don’t expect River Crest to lose any of its competitive edge. Omana has turned the playing duties over to former TCU players Orlando Superlano and Facundo Lugones. Superlano is another former Venezuelan Davis Cup player and was selected to the All-Big 12 team in 2012-2013. Lugones, from Argentina, played No. 4 singles for TCU’s NCAA Final Four team in 2015.
Colonial Country Club will be led by former TCU coach Joey Rivé, a former top 50 ATP Tour player, and Chip Blackmon, a former top-ranked junior in South Carolina and the Southern Section.
Competing for McLeland will be Matt Hanlin, an All-American from University of Washington and former ATP pro who has served as a hitting partner with Venus and Serena Williams. He will team with McLeland’s Director of Tennis Craig Weymer, a former top junior player in Texas.
Mira Vista will feature Matt Sayre, who trained at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy, and Colin Hoover, a member of Texas A&M’s 2011 Big 12 championship team, who was ranked No. 1 in Texas Men’s Open division in 2007. Hoover is also a two-time Pro Cup winner (2014, 2016).
Shawn Wooley and Daniel Quiñones will team up for Ridglea Country Club. Wooley has taught at Ridglea for seven years, and has been an instructor at Mira Vista and at Cypress Hills Tennis Club. Quiñones competed at the NCAA Division III level and has been teaching at Ridglea for five years.
Action starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $30 for a one-day pass and $35 for a weekend pass. A welcome party is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at River Crest Country Club. For tickets or information, contact River Crest Country Club or any participating club.
Rusty Hall: 817-390-7816, @RustyHall10s