Families form life-long bonds by hosting players for Midland ten - WNEM TV 5

Families form life-long bonds by hosting players for Midland tennis tourney

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

The Dow Tennis Classic is right around the corner and soon some of the top female tennis players from around the world will be in Mid-Michigan.

When the women hit the court, you can bet they've had a good night's rest and have been pampered with all the comforts of home. That's because they stay at the homes of folks who volunteer to put them up for the tournament.

Luke Russell is one of those volunteers.

He stopped by the Greater Midland Tennis Center Thursday to talk with Tournament Director Scott Mitchell. Russell got involved in the program a couple of years ago.

"So, [I] love tennis, first of all. It's a passion of mine. I like playing and all, but two I love the community and I love seeing our town flourish and these things take community support to even happen so if we can help out and give back, why can't we, you know,” Russell said.

The tourney director is grateful for the host families.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the families, but also for the players they get to stay with families, get great meals, they get their laundry taken care of they get driven around town,” Mitchell said.

There's another benefit for the families that host these players - they form life-long bonds with those players.

Russell's family hosted Irina Falconi last year.

"The kids are real excited to have somebody new around. So, you do kind of form these close bonds and then you kind of follow them throughout the year and their career,” Russell said.

WNEM TV-5 is a proud sponsor of the Dow Tennis Classic.  

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