Starting July 20 there will be an influx of tennis competition in Ashland via the Braidy Industries' $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic.

The tournament is presented by Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. This is a big deal for Ashland and surrounding communities primarily because it serves up a big economic impact to a community -- and region -- that needs it.

“This being the second year (of the tournament) I think we're going to attract even more people here because the quality of play that they had really just exceeded expectations,” said Ashland Alliance President Tim Gibbs. “... it's just a nice, nice attribute to have, kind of a quality of life attribute that we're starting to do things here that we haven't done before.”

The tournament is set for July 20-28 at the Ashland Tennis Center.

“There's economic impact to your hotels, to your restaurants and these are real drivers and tourism is certainly part of the economic development picture so anytime we have something done and done to a high level — and this being done year after year — it's certainly going to do nothing but help drive the economy,” he said.

Tournament Chairman Jack Ditty said there will be over 50 players coming to the tournament—all of which will bring along coaches and family members. There are also 28 tennis officials who will come into town as well. He pointed out each will stay in local hotels, frequent local businesses and even use the local airport.

Ditty said he was unsure how many spectators came to last year's tournament but said there were times when the main court was full, seating between 500 to 550 guests. He pointed out there were also other matches going on at the same time that were drawing spectators as well.

Boyd County Tourism and Convention Bureau Executive Director Sue Gilmore Dowdy said the tournament isa true tourism attraction.

“If (the players/visitors are) here for a week, it can amount to quite a bit of money and that's really good for the economy,” she said, adding that the tournament will also hopefully make attendees want to come back to Boyd County in the future.

We agree strongly with all the statements above. This is an important event. The idea that a regional city like Ashland can draw folks from all across the globe to play tennis is a major asset to the community and it provides for a very significant economic impact.

We give everyone involved with making this tournament a reality our heartfelt thanks. We also encourage everyone to stop on by and check out some major, top notch tennis competition. It will be well worth your while.