Rochester Tennis League was founded by Maksim Lecic in the late spring of 2006. It was created to connect local tennis players interested in competing regularly in an organized recreational league. The league's flexible scheduling format with one match each week, and lack of a city league of this kind attracted many local tennis players who wanted to play more regularly and with various opponents. The league grew from 14 players in 2006 to 132 participants in 2013, and the trend is expected to continue. It turned out to be a great way to meet other recreational players and play tennis regularly during the summer months. Returning players play for free, and matches are played on the local public courts with free access. New players (starting in 2010) are charged one time sign up fee in amount of 30 dollars
Opening season of 2006. was a big test to see if this kind of competition and format would work. First session started in June and lasted for six weeks. There were 8 players in men's league and 6 in women's league. Flexible scheduling format proved to be very successful. Men's league was a total success ,with only 2 matches missed out of 24. Women's league had the same format but it failed due to some players not being able to keep up with the schedule. There were too many missed matches and league was never completed. So after that session, it was clear that the competition like that can succeed only if players are very dedicated to keep up with the schedule.
Session II started in mid July and lasted 7 weeks. More players joined the league and two coed divisions were formed with 8 players in each division. Players were classified according to their skills and past results. Format was round robin with one round scheduled each week. The players showed great dedication to the league , they enjoyed playing tennis and competing on regular basis. Second session was completed on time with just few missed matches.
Third and last part of the 2006 season was the fall tournament with single match elimination format. All 16 players participated and it was successfully completed with little delay due to bad weather.
We had great feedback from the players and they expressed desire to join in again next year.
Season 2007. had three sessions again with the same format like last year. . We started in late May and finished in mid October. Most players came back and some new ones were added. Men's league had 16 players throughout the season and women's had 7 in the fist session and 4 in the second. Just like the opening year this was again very succesfull season with very small number of matches missed. Session I had players divided in 4 groups for three weeks and then last 4 weeks we had playoffs.
Second session was 7 week long round robin format and third was just like last year single match elimination tournament. Players showed great dedication to the league and did excellent job keeping up with the schedule.
We did some rule modifications during 2007 season and it seemed to work well. One major change was to award 3 points to winners as oposed to 2 like last year. Then we decided to deduct 0.5 points for matches missed. Third rule change was to allow one day grace period for matches not completed by Monday night deadline. Players could use this twice per a single session.
Season 2008. brought more expansion to the league. We had 24 players in the mens league in the first two sessions and including 7 on women's side we had a record attendance with 31 active players and 3 on the sub list. It was nice to see more people joining us. There were many positive comments about the league from players who participated and most players enjoyed the experiance.
Just like previous two years, we kept similar format and rules. Since we had more players we had to start earlier in the spring and reduce time off in between sessions. It worked out good, it was a nice summer for tennis and the season was succesfully completed in the fall . With more people joining us, quality and skill level of the league as a whole improved a lot this year.
This year we also started an annual doubles tournament / cookout. It happened on September 6th at mayo highschool. We had 14 players showing up, and it was a great opportunity to meet everybody and have some fun playing doubles and interacting with eachother.
Season 2009 started in early May . It was the earliest start and it was done to accomodate a larger group. The men's league expanded from 24 to 32 players and women's had 12 players throughout the season. It was the record attendance and longest season . Aside from expanding the league we had 7 people on the waiting list who ended up getting in during the second session to replace 7 people that quit.
It turned out to be another very succesfull year with about 85% matches completed. Players enjoyed it and interest for this league continued to grow. The league saw another influx of players of all levels, some of them turned out to be of advanced level and they kept winning top places. The league hasn't seen much changes in rules. The format stayed the same with some minor modifications in the session I to accomodate larger group. The season went on untill early October . Just like last year we organized a doubles tournament in the fall with 10 people participating. This year a team competition was set up, where 5 player teams competed against each other in various doubles and singles matches. We also got in touch with FAT league up in the Farmington area to set up an interleague match.
The web site has seen some added features like forum, tennis court locations and weekly newsletter/blog. Players showed a great dedication to the league again and enjoyed another year playing tennis.
The league continued to expand. We had 40 players in men's league, 8 in the wild card group which was created for people who signed up late, and 10 in women's. The format stayed the same, but the league had to start earlier to accommodate larger numbers. For the first time new players were charged a sign up fee ($10 per a session), returning players continued to play for free. The funds collected were used to pass awards. For the first time we awarded session II divisional winners gift cards from Sports Authority. Also trophies were presented to session III champion, runner up and women's division champion. The season concluded at Rochester Athletic Club. The RAC sponsored an end of the season gathering for our league. It included championship match and doubles drill/play for league members.
Last year's idea about an interleague match with FAT league materialized this season. Our team went up to Cannon falls for an interleague match and we hope this event becomes an annual thing. Our web site got a new look this season and some new features were added (registration form for new players, weekly blog etc.) We had a very successful season again with our match completion rate staying in 80-85% range. The rules didn't change much. We tested a new rule in session III regarding an optional super tie break instead playing a full 3rd set. In the second session top women players were added to men's league . This was first time after the opening season that we had a co-ed league.
The league expanded once again. The men's / co-ed league had 56 players in the first session and women's had 16. With 72 total players it turned out to be record attendance. To accommodate this number of players we had to start the league on April 25th. This had been the earliest start yet. Players who participated in all 3 session had an opportunity to play 21 matches this year. We added consolation rounds to session III so players who lose a match didn't get eliminated as before. Instead, they kept playing consolation rounds. Aside from this we didn't change much in regards to rules and format. The season stretched for almost 6 months, and I think we expanded it as much as we can in Minnesota. As previous year, new players had to pay the sign up fee, and this allowed us to pass gift card awards and trophies to divisional winners and champions. We were able to organize two inter-league matches against FAT league this summer, and also RAC hosted season opening and season closing events for our league. Our match completion rate stayed steady above 80% over the first two sessions but t dropped down a bit during the session III. So we ended up with 76% of matches completed this year. which is a bit lower than previous seasons
The league had another strong year with 87% of matches completed. Session I set new participation record with 112 players. Three significant changes happened this year .
Session I format was changed to mirror session II (7 week round robin, play everyone in your division once). Players started the season in divisions, past scores were used to appropriately place everyone. This change created more competitive match ups during the first session and players enjoyed competing against opponents of similar skill level. After session I , bottom 2 places in each division were moved down a level and top 2 were moved a level up for the coming session. A trial doubles league was organized in spring of 2012. It had 15 teams divided in 2 levels, each team needed to sign up 3 players. The doubles league had a very successful start and organizers hope it will continue next year. Due to constant expansion it became necessary to involve more player volunteers in managing the league and updating scores on the web site. It worked out very well and many players stepped in to help out and make the league run smooth . Google documents were used to make the process of updating scores easier and more efficient.
Eight season of the league brought more expansion, a new record with 132 players was set during session I. After it's inaugural session last year , the doubles league came back and this time it kept going simultaneously with singles league through all 3 sessions. Another inter-league meet was organized with FAT league , and for the first time , end of the season doubles and final singles matches for men's and women's league were held at Rochester Tennis Connection.