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Richey Reneberg, former No. 1-ranked tennis player, helps grow the game in Montana

Richey Reneberg
Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-01 21:19:09-04

ENNIS — In states like Montana where winter can last nearly half a year, sports such as tennis have had a hard time growing in popularity.

However, an organization called Elevated Tennis Camps is working to change that in different towns across the Rocky Mountains.

"When I was younger, I had a lot of people help me," founder John Fielding explained. "They took an interest in me and helped me progress in my tennis game. I feel now that I'm at a point in my life that I want to try to give back like they gave to me.”

After a professional coaching career that reached a pinnacle at the US Open, John Fielding was on a mission to grow the sport in states like Montana launching Elevated Tennis Camps in 2017.

“I'm just trying to get people to come out and enjoy the game and hopefully improve and get proficient enough where they can go out and play for years and years to come," he added.

Elevated Tennis held a free clinic for both children and adults Thursday afternoon at Madison Meadows Golf Course in Ennis.

There was also an exhibition match held in the evening featuring Richey Reneberg, a former professional tennis player who represented Team USA at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

"I talk about tennis being good to me, and it's nice to give back a little bit," Reneberg smiled. "I know John has been up here in Ennis a bit, trying to get the tennis, kind of introduce tennis to the community, and it's great to be a part of that.”

The tennis hall of famer was coached by Fielding at Southern Methodist University from 1985-87 where he was a three-time All-American, 1985 NCAA rookie of the year, two-time Southwest Conference player of the year, and was the ITA All-American singles champion in 1986.

Fielding coached Reneberg professionally on the tour for four years, helping him win the 1992 U.S. Open Doubles Championship. Reneberg played professionally for 13 years where he also won the 1995 Australian Open Doubles Championship, was a member of three U.S. Davis Cup teams, and reached a No. 1 world-ranking with his partner Jim Grabb in doubles.

Bozeman's Meg McCarty, who is the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the state of Montana, played in Thursday's exhibition match against Reneberg. McCarty signed with Montana State in November 2022 as a four-star recruit.

“It was so fun," McCarty smiled. "His skill just doesn’t go away. He’s going to have it the rest of his life, so it was a great opportunity for me.”

Elevated Tennis is in the process of establishing permanent roots in Ennis with the launch of a juniors program.

“Hopefully the more tennis that gets played here in Ennis the more popular it becomes," Reneberg added.

To learn more about Elevated Tennis Camps, click here.