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Ask Our Tennis Pro About the 17th Annual Indoor Tennis Tournament

Did you know, Champaign Park District has a full time tennis teaching professional at Dodds Tennis CenterYuri Sohn? Read all about our very own tennis star and why he loves the 17th Annual Indoor Tennis Tournament on February 21-23! 

Yuri Sohn standing in front of indoor tennis courts holding a tennis racket and sign that says: Dodds Tennis Center First Day of Tennis Season.

Yuri Sohn has played tennis for 42 years. Growing up in Townsville, Australia, he loved learning all about how fun and exciting tennis can be.  He won many junior tournaments on the Queensland circuit. His continued success lead him to earn a scholarship to play for the University of Hawaii.

He played all over the west coast, Utah, and New Mexico. He even traveled to play in the Midwest! He eventually attended the University of Illinois for graduate school and began competing in the middle Illinois circuit where he was also victorious. Some of his favorite tennis memories were during this time:

“I have fond memories of playing in very competitive matches in college.  Beating Stanford at Stanford’s home stadium in a doubles match was a lot of fun.”

Yuri stepping into a swing to hit tennis ball coming in at eye level

Yuri decided to transition into coaching. He coached at Centennial High School-they won sectionals and numerous players qualified for state championships. He also coached at Parkland College-they won regionals and qualified for nationals during his time. 

“I have coached all levels of players from beginners to nationally ranked juniors and adults.”

Yuri has worked for the Champaign Park District for almost 25 years. He truly loves to teach! His primary focus is technique.  He wants to ensure that first and foremost players are using proper technique to avoid injury as much as possible.  Then, he teaches rhythm and flow because tennis has a natural rhythm to it. He also pulls knowledge from complimentary activities to round out his teaching philosophy:

“I also really apply what I have learned in my dance training and teaching my salsa dance classes to my tennis teaching because all are centered on movement.”

Young female tennis player following through with her swing after hitting a tennis ball

All of our instructors at the Dodds Tennis Center are trained to educate, inspire, and entertain when they teach.  At Dodds, patrons are expected to play anyone no matter their skill level. We need to play people less experienced, more experienced, and around the same level to help each other get better and improve together.

We try to instill a family-friendly environment in our facility and programs as a whole.  In Hawaii, “Ohana” refers to family in the Hawaiian language.  I try to bring a feeling of Ohana to the Dodds Tennis Center and the tennis programs as a whole.

2 older men in the middle of tennis court on either side of net shaking hands at the end of the match

This is our 17th Annual Indoor Tennis Tournament and Yuri Sohn has been part of them all! So we wanted to ask him about this year’s upcoming tournament:

1. How many competitors are you anticipating to register for the tournament?

“If the last 3 years are any indication then we should be getting over 80 entrants.”

2. What kind of awards can winners expect to take home?

“First and second place finishers and consolation bracket winners will all win a trophy.

male adult tennis player waiting at the ready for the ball to be returned.

3. What makes our 17th Annual Indoor Tennis Tournament a great one to register for?

“There are not many indoor tournaments offered during the winter/spring so this provides a good opportunity for players to practice their match play skills in singles and doubles events.

There are also very few tournaments that offer junior and adult events together so it provides a great tournament atmosphere where you see players of all ages and genders playing.

It is also not United States Tennis Association (USTA) sanctioned which allows us to charge a reduced entry fee.  You will also likely not get as many hardened tournament competitors coming from out of town, which allows for new tournament players to start playing in a less overwhelming environment.”

Female doubles tennis match. Athlete positioned at back of court to hit ball that's coming towards her in the air.

The 17th Annual Indoor Tennis Tournament on February 21-23 at Dodds Tennis Center is for everyone! If you’re a seasoned pro wanting to knock the ice off your game before summer-register now! If a youth athlete close to you wants to try their hand at competition-register now! If you play tennis but do not feel comfortable competing in a USTA sanctioned event-register now! Deadline to register is February 18 at 5:00p.

Follow this event on Facebook for updates and additional information regarding the tournament.

exterior picture of Dodds Tennis Center Sign

Want to train more for future tennis tournaments? Check out our Tennis Programs at Dodds Tennis Center for a supportive family-friendly training environment.

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