Serving Dreams

Midland's National Tennis Image

"In the industry, they know Midland and they know
our Tennis Center is able to deliver new initiatives
at the national level.”


Mike Woody     

Broadcasting the U.S. Open a few months ago, ESPN- TV heavyweight Mike Tirico was discussing the Saginaw roots of Serena and Venus when he added that nearby Midland was honored as Best Tennis Town in the U.S.

Co-anchor Pam Shriver chimed in with the observation that Midland was also the site of an excellent women’s pro tennis tournament—the Dow Corning Tennis Classic.

Meanwhile, the USTA selected Mike Woody, USPTA/PTR, and Dustin Robinson, PTR, to work Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the U.S. Open. Our guys also attended a USTA Tennis Teachers Conference to learn about new instructional/programming developments.

Best of all Woody gave a presentation with his patented rock’em, sock’em style that got everyone way too excited about tennis as “absolutely the best thing you could ever do with your life as long as you were above the grass!”

The GMTC’s Alissa Yoder, one of our best players, was selected by the USTA to officiate U.S. Open qualifying matches and over 25 main round matches  “It’s pretty exciting to be on court calling lines with players and officials you’ve only seen on TV,” said Alissa.

More National Footprints

In other national developments, the GMTC is now considered among the largest municipal tennis facilities in the country, with 40 hard and clay courts.

Midland’s GMTC is also a USTA-designated National Training site for 10 & Under Tennis, and TIA (Tennis Industry Association) Cardio Tennis National Center, as well as two-time USTA National Top 50 Welcome Center, and TIA National Top Ten Pro Shop.  

Clearly, the relatively new Paul Oreffice Outdoor Tennis Complex has received its share of national prominence as an exciting new venture, one of the Midwest’s premier tennis venues.

Early on the GMTC was designated a national top 25 municipal tennis facility by Tennis Magazine. We should probably list the GMTC’s 19 national junior championships since 2004, as well as four high school state titles since 2009 earned by juniors who train at our Tennis Academy.

Then there’s the bevy of Midwest and National recognitions garnered by Mike Woody, Executive Director, and Sharon Cleland, Director of Tennis. Most recently Mike was named to the 2012 USPTA Midwest Hall of Fame, while Sharon was just named an official national trainer for PTR 10 & Under Tennis.

Another principal at the GMTC with outstanding national and international credentials is Steve Host, USTA High Performance Coach, and new Director of Junior Competitive Tennis. South African by birth, Host has taught in eight countries and coached 10 pro players on the ATP & WTA Tours as well as a bevy of highly ranked ITF juniors.

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic, a USTA Pro Circuit Event, has earned a unique national image as a top stop on the 90-city tour, and one of only two $100,000 tournaments.

The longest-running  tournament on the USTA Circuit, the Dow Corning Tennis Classic remains Michigan’s only pro tennis, and the season’s top entertainment/sports event, drawing 15,000 fans.

It’s interesting to note that the GMTC can call on a world-wide network of supporters from our two international corporations who played their tennis on our courts. They stepped up big time for the email voting for Best Tennis Town; then assisted with funding the Paul Oreffice Outdoor Tennis Complex.

Finally, although we seem to take it for granted, others in the industry treat the GMTC as a leader in scope of programming that provides tennis for the mentally and physically disabled, wheelchair athletes, youngsters as young as two, and seniors in their nineties.


These examples of national and Midwest influence for Midland and GMTC are part of the national conversation when this community of excellence is discussed anywhere.

Wish Upon A Silver Star

"I wish I could play tennis forever."

Young star rising, 9